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Criminal Defense Resources
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Do I Need A Defense Attorney To Assist With The Bail Process
While you do not legally need a defense attorney to help you with the bail process, having one can certainly help you through the steps, especially if it is your first time.
What Is Bail
When the police arrest someone, they put them into jail where they stay until they are released on their own recognizance or until they post bail. Bail is not available in all cases, but in those that it is, it is simply paying the court a fee to let a defendant out of jail until her case is over in exchange for a promise, a contract, from the defendant to attend all of her court hearings. A defendant can pay bail by cash, real estate, personal property, or by using the services of a bondsman.
When you hire a bondsman, they vouch for you in front of the court and say that if you don't show up for all of your court dates they will pay your bond in full. In exchange for that, you will pay the bondsman a percentage of your bail amount, usually 10%, which is non-refundable. You will also have to usually use a co-signor, a parent or friend, who will be responsible for the money should you not appear in court, and put up some type of collateral, usually a house, that the bondsman can seize to recoup their money if you do not appear in court as agreed.
A Bail Bondsman Is Not An Attorney
Bail is a complicated matter, and using a bondsman is not always the best choice. For instance, in cases where the charges are dropped the 10% you paid to the bondsman is gone, and you can't get that back, even though your case was dropped.
A defense attorney, on the other hand, can represent you in court and fight on your behalf to release you from custody without bail-a bondsman cannot do that. A criminal defense attorney can argue at a bail hearing on your behalf to reduce drastically your bail amount-a bondsman cannot do that. In the event that you must use a bondsman to get out of jail, your attorney can help you choose one that will charge you a lesser bond fee, saving you money.