I know how painful it is if a loved one is facing jail time or is in jail. If you have a friend or family member held in any of the local New Jersey jails, I can help with their immediate release. Before contacting a bondsman, call me at (732) 455-5018 for a free consultation. I will get your loved one out of jail, as well as defend their case. I can usually negotiate a lower bail amount and at times, can deal with a release on your own recognizance. If a bond is needed, I can help you easily get a bond with the best possible terms.

Who decides how much bail I have to pay?

Judges are responsible for setting bail. Because many people want to get out of jail immediately and, depending on when you are arrested, it can take up to five days to see a judge, most jails have standard bail schedules which specify bail amounts for common crimes. You can get out of jail quickly by paying the amount set forth in the bail schedule.

What can I do if I can not afford to pay the bail listed on the bail schedule?

If you can not afford the amount of bail on the bail schedule, you can hire an attorney to ask a judge to lower it. Depending on the state, your request must be made either in a special bail-setting hearing or when you appear in court for the first time, usually called your arraignment.

How do I pay for bail?

There are two ways to pay your bail. You may either pay the full amount of the bail or buy a bail bond. A bail bond is like a check held in reserve: It represents your promise that you will appear in court when you are scheduled. You pay a bond seller to post a bond (a certain sum of money) with the court, and the court keeps the bond in case you do not show up. You can usually buy a bail bond for about 10% of the amount of your bail; this premium is the bond seller’s fee for taking the risk that you will not appear in court.

My husband was arrested and the court set the bail as "Cash Only". What does that mean? What does it mean if the bail is "Bond Only"?

"Cash" bail means you can put up your own money to bail out your loved one. This means if the bail is set at $15,000.00, you must put up the entire $15,000.00 to get your loved on released. This money is not lost, however. If your loved one makes all his court appearances, the person who put up the cash will get their entire $15,000.00 returned when the case is over.  That’s why, if you can pay the bail, do it.

Sometimes the court also stipulates that the bail be "Cash with a 10%". This is even better because the person paying the bail only has to put up 10% of the cash bail, in the example $1,500.00. (10% x $15,000=$1,500). If the person arrested gets out and never goes to court, the person paying the bail is liable for the full $15,000, even though they only put up $1,500.

Bond Only means only a bail bondsman can bail out your loved one. Their fee for this service is 10% of the total bail. That 10% is lost once the bondsman puts up the bail and you won’t get that back. The 10% is the standard fee, but some bail companies advertise "2% bails". What they are actually doing is getting 2% from you now, and the rest of the bail is being financed by you. This can become expensive. They will set up a loan that takes forever to be repaid. IF YOU CAN PAY YOUR LOVED ONE’S BAIL, DO IT! YOU’LL GET THAT MONEY BACK IN THE END. SAVE YOUR MONEY TO PAY FOR A GOOD LAWYER.

A bail bond may sound like a good deal, but hiring a bail bondsman may cost you more in the long run. If you pay the full amount of the bail, you will get that money back (less a small administrative fee) if you make your scheduled court appearances. On the other hand, the 10% premium you pay to a bail bondsman seller is nonrefundable. In addition, the bail bondsman may require "collateral." This means that you (or the person whom pays for your bail bond) must give the bond seller a financial interest in some of your valuable property. The bond seller can cash-in this interest if you fail to appear in court.

If you can not afford your bail and you do not have a friend or relative that can help out, a bond seller may be your only option.

How soon can I appear before a judge?

In federal court, a person taken to jail must be brought "without unnecessary delay before the nearest available . . . magistrate." New Jersey has similar rules. In no event should more than 48 hours elapse (not counting weekends and holidays) between the time of booking and bringing you to court. Unfortunately, these rules are rarely enforced because the police can simply release the suspect when the time is up and then immediately re-arrest him.

Is it true that a defendant who proves his reliability can get out of jail on his word alone?

Sometimes. This is generally known as releasing someone "on his own recognizance," or "R.O.R." A defendant released R.O.R. must simply sign a promise to show up in court. He does not have to post bail. A defendant commonly requests release on his own recognizance at his first court appearance. If the judge denies the request, he then asks for low bail.

In general, defendants who are released R.O.R. have strong ties to a community, making them unlikely to flee. Factors that may convince a judge to grant an R.O.R. release include the following:

  • The defendant has other family members living in the community.
  • The defendant has resided in the community for many years.
  • The defendant has a job.
  • The defendant has little or no past criminal record, or any previous criminal problems were minor and occurred many years earlier.
  • The defendant has been charged with previous crimes and has always appeared as required.

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