How Do I Post Bail for Someone?

Categories: Criminal Defense

gavel with American flag

In Colorado, you can post bail in cash or using a bond. But first, you need to find out the amount and whether the court allows you to use a bond for securing someone’s release.

When a loved one is arrested, one of the first questions attorneys hear is how much the bail amount is and how to post it so that they can release their family member.

Unfortunately, the amount might not be determined instantly at arrest. Instead, there are processes your loved one must go through. Then, you still need to decide whether or not you have the cash on hand to pay that amount, whether you are willing to risk that cash, and if you need a bond instead.

The Basics of Posting Bail in Grand Junction

After someone is arrested, they are sent to booking. Their bail is not set just yet. Instead, they must go through the booking process and they could stay overnight in jail. It is not until arraignment or the first appearance (the bail hearing), where the judge will listen to the facts of the case and determine the adequate bail amount.

What Is Bail and Why Do the Courts Require It?

Bail is the court’s way of ensuring that, if they temporarily release an individual, that person will show for their designated court hearing. Bail is security interest, and you will be required to pay a sum of cash or put your property up as collateral to secure the defendant’s appearance in court.

If the defendant does not show, then all bail is forfeited and kept by the court. Also, a bench warrant will be issued for the defendant, and they will be arrested and sent to jail until their hearing.

Bail versus Bond – What Is the Difference?

Bail and bond are not the same things. Even though the words are used interchangeably in casual conversation, they are two different securities placed for a defendant’s release.

Bail is the funds used to have a defendant released from jail.

A bond means that the bail amount was too high, and family members had to use a bond company. Bond companies, in exchange for a fee, have family members pay a specific percentage of the bail and they secure the remainder. Usually, you will spend 10 to 15 percent of the bail amount in Colorado, and a bond company will cover the rest – with an added fee.

What Is the Cost to Bail Someone out of Jail?

Bail amounts differ by case and the defendant. While there are set fee schedules, a judge still can use discretion to decide what bail amount is necessary – especially if they feel a defendant is unlikely to show to their appearance.

It is required by law that bail is set at a reasonable amount. Requiring an outrageous amount, especially for a criminal act that does not require such a high amount, would be unconstitutional.

A judge will assess not only the set schedule for the county, but they will consider the following when deciding how much bail you must pay to get a loved one out of jail:

  1. The employment history of the defendant and whether they have a job they can return to while waiting for their hearing
  2. The nature of family relationships, and how strong those ties are
  3. Any history of being arrested or charged with crimes
  4. The severity of the criminal act
  5. The reputation and character of the person being accused of the crime
  6. History of missing or skipping out on bail
  7. Any other factors that show the defendant has strong ties to the community and is not a threat to public safety if they were released on bail

Not All Cases Qualify for Bail – and Not All Cases Qualify for Bonds, Either

Severe crimes, including murder or other capital offenses, will not receive bail. If they do, the bail amount will be incredibly high.

Likewise, a judge can decide not to allow a bond, which means that they will only accept cash for the bail to secure a defendant’s release. These are in extreme cases where the flight risk is high, or the criminal act was violent and charged as a serious felony.

In misdemeanors and petty offenses, a judge is more likely to set bail and at a low amount – especially for first-time offenders.

Do You Need a Lawyer for a Bail Hearing?

While you could represent yourself at a bail hearing, it is not advised. Without an attorney, you are at the mercy of the court. You would need to present your argument for a lower bail amount (if any bail) and prove to the court that you have valuable ties that ensure you would show for your appearance.

An attorney can help present your argument, and they know how judges like to set bail. Therefore, they can tailor their arguments and evidence to get a favorable bail amount for your case. Likewise, if you have special financial circumstances, you need a lawyer who can argue on your behalf and help secure a lower bail amount so that you can get a loved one out of jail — even if you do not have a lot of funds.

If You Bail Someone Out, What Happens to Your Money?

When you use the money to bail out a friend or family member, the money you get back depends on how you secured their bail and whether they showed to their hearing.

If you use a cash bail and the defendant appears in court as required, you typically get your money back. However, the court may take any outstanding court fines from the funds before returning them.

If you bail a friend or family member out but they do not appear in court, then you forfeit the funds.

If you have a loved one who was recently arrested, contact an attorney immediately to secure bail. Attorney Mark S. Rubinstein, P.C., can assist you with your case. Schedule a free case evaluation now by calling or reaching out to him online with your questions.

Mark Rubinstein

Attorney Mark S. Rubinstein has been practicing law for more than 30 years, including 25 years in Colorado. He founded Mark S. Rubinstein, P.C., in Carbondale after working for law firms in Denver and earlier in his career in San Diego. He focuses his practice in the areas of criminal defense and personal injury representation, and he is well known throughout western Colorado as an effective and unwavering advocate for his clients.