What is the difference?
Bail is money that must be paid in full to get out of jail during the pendency of the defendant’s case. If the defendant fails to appear in court, the bail will be forfeited. On the other hand, if the defendant makes all court appearances, the bail money will be returned to the defendant. A bail bondsman is a person or agency who pledges money or property on behalf of the defendant to secure their release, with the promise that the defendant will return to court. Typically, when using a bondsman, a defendant is required to pay 10% of the bond amount to the bondsman, and the bondsman will secure the remaining amount. Even if the defendant returns to court, this 10% is retained by the bondsman. A bail bond can also involve equity in property. For example, if a defendant uses their home as equity with a bondsman, they risk losing their home if they fail to appear at court.
Why does it matter?
The primary purpose of setting bail or bond is to ensure the defendant’s return to court. Once arraigned, there are many different factors a judge considers for a defendant seeking bail or bond.
How does it work?
In a state court, factors that are considered include age, seriousness of the offense, ties to the community and flight risk. Other factors, such as past failures to appear, will lead to a higher bail or bond. In federal court, the safety of the community is a significant considered as well.
Unfortunately, not all cases are treated equally. Each defendant’s case may depend on the subjective opinion of the Judge viewing the application. Each Judge may view the criminal allegations and defendant differently.
For example, Charlie Tan, a Cornell college student, who was charged with the murder of his father, was released on a of bail $50,000. Many other defendants charged with murder have faced much high bail. It is clear that the system can be inconsistent when setting bail and bond.
How can Trevett Cristo help?
At Trevett Cristo, we make it a priority to meet with the defendant’s family first in order to create a specific, personalized and detailed bail or bond application. A more detailed application allows for a stronger argument to the Judge and a better chance of a lower bail or bond amount.
A defendant only has one bite at the bail/bond apple. Before making a bail application, the approach should be thoroughly prepared. The attorneys at Trevett Cristo are ready to help walk you or your loved one through the process to ensure you receive the best chance at a low bail. Contact us today.