FAIRFAX LAWYER HELPING CLIENTS UNDERSTAND AND POST BAIL
If you are arrested and charged with a crime, you’re going to want to get out of jail as soon as you can, but in the state of Virginia, getting out of jail after an arrest is sometimes a challenge.
Some criminal suspects are released on their own recognizance, but for others, posting a cash bail is the only way to get out.
Most people are allowed to post bail after an arrest, but some are not. If the charge is for homicide, rape, or another violent felony, or if the suspect is considered a flight risk or a danger to the general public, that suspect may not be allowed to post bail.
DO “BAIL” AND “BOND” MEAN THE SAME THING?
Nevertheless, if you are arrested and charged with a crime in the Fairfax area, bond will probably be set in your case, and you could be released from jail soon after the arrest.
In general conversation, people may use the terms “bail” and “bond” to mean the same thing, but the terms do not have the same meaning in Virginia law. “Bail” is a defendant’s pre-trial release. “Bond” is the actual payment of the bail amount set by a judge.
HOW CAN A BOND BE PAID IN VIRGINIA?
After a criminal suspect is arrested and booked, a bail hearing is scheduled. A judge will review the charge or charges, determine if bail should be permitted and if a bond should be set, and if so, for how much. Three kinds of bonds are allowed in Virginia:
- When someone is released from jail on his or her personal recognizance, that person promises in writing to attend all scheduled court dates, and no money has to be paid. For less serious offenses, personal recognizance bonds are common.
- An unsecured bond is similar to a personal recognizance bond, but a suspect must agree in writing to pay a fine if he or she fails to appear for any scheduled court dates.
- When a secured bond amount is set, a criminal suspect must pay it or remain in jail. If the person appears for all scheduled court dates, the money is returned.
A cash bond is rare, because few of us keep that kind of cash around. In most cases, when a judge sets a secured bond amount, family members or friends – or the suspect’s attorney – will contact a bail bondsman.
WHAT IS A BAIL BONDSMAN’S ROLE?
For a non-returnable ten-to-fifteen percent fee and assurances that the suspect will appear for his or her scheduled court dates, a bail bondsman will pay the full bond amount on the suspect’s behalf. The fee goes to the bondsman as payment for services.
If a suspect cannot be released on his or her own recognizance, pay a bond, or otherwise arrange to bail out of jail, the suspect may have to remain in jail until his or her trial. Virginia’s criminal courts move slowly – a trial may not start for as long as three months after an arrest.
If you are not approved for bail, or if your bond is more than you can pay – even with the help of a bail bondsman – your defense attorney can ask the court to reconsider your case or to set a bond amount that is more in line with what you can afford.
HOW WILL THE RIGHT ATTORNEY HELP YOU?
A Fairfax criminal defense lawyer can make a strong argument for a reasonable bond amount and even make arrangements with a bail bondsman on your behalf, if necessary. In some cases, your attorney may even persuade the judge to release you on your own recognizance.
If you’re arrested and charged with a crime in the Fairfax area, do not plead guilty, and don’t try to act as your own attorney, either. That will put your family, freedom, and future at even greater risk. A guilty plea creates a criminal record and everything that a criminal record entails.
You want to avoid a conviction and a criminal record. If you’re charged with a crime, it is important to have a lawyer from the very start. A bail hearing is no exception. Your lawyer is there to ensure fairness, protect your rights, and argue for the best possible outcome to your case.
A GOOD ATTORNEY’S HELP IS YOUR RIGHT
If you’ve been arrested, whether you’ve been charged with a violent felony or a misdemeanor offense, Fairfax criminal defense lawyer Scott C. Nolan will address your concerns, fight for the justice you deserve, and bring the case to a just and appropriate conclusion.
To learn more, to schedule a legal consultation, or if you need legal help right now, call Scott C. Nolan’s law offices or reach out to him online. If you’ve been charged with a crime in or near Fairfax, get the legal help you need. Having a good attorney’s help is your right.