Can’t Post Bail? Here’s What You Need to Know

February 06, 2023

Action Immigration

No one expects to be arrested and to have to post bail. In fact, few people have money saved up to bail themselves out of jail. 

So what's a person to do when they cannot afford bail? What happens when you can't post bail? Will you remain in jail indefinitely, or is there another way to get out of jail while you wait for your trial? 

By the time you finish reading this article, you will understand what happens when you cannot post bail. 

First Things First: Bail or Bond?

Bail, or bond, is the money a defendant must pay to get out of jail when they're initially arrested. This money does not absolve the defendant of their crimes. 

Bail refers to the money the defendant comes up with on their own. Bond refers to the money someone else posts on the defendant's behalf. A bail bond company usually provides a surety bond to secure the defendant's release. 

Friends, Family, or Your Local Friendly Bail Bondsman

Few people have enough money to post bail. So if you're arrested, you often have to rely on the kindness of friends and family to post bail for you. Bail costs will range from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars. 

If your friends and family cannot help, you can hire a bail bonds company to post your bail. 

A bail bond company will require a small percentage from you. They will then ask for collateral for the rest of your bail. 

When You Can't Post Bail

What happens, then, when your friends and family can't help you, and you can't secure bail from a bail bondsman or immigration bondsman? 

You must remain in jail until your trial if you cannot post bond. Your trial proceedings may take as little as a few months and as long as a few years, depending on your situation. Here's what you can expect if you have to wait in jail: 

  • Arraignment: when you appear before a judge, hear the nature of your charge, and enter your plea
  • Preliminary hearing for felony cases: where the prosecutor presents evidence to prove probable cause
  • Discovery: when the prosecutor gives your immigration lawyer all of the evidence they have against you, and your lawyer then has time to examine the evidence
  • Pretrial negotiations: the period you have to negotiate a plea deal and potentially avoid a trial
  • Trial date set: when the court sets a date for your trial
  • Jury selection: the period in which, if you have a trial by jury, the jury is selected
  • Trial: your day in court when your defendant presents your case, and the prosecution presents their evidence

While the entire process may take months, there are time limits. For example, an arraignment must take place within the first 48 hours of your arrest. A preliminary hearing must take place within the first ten days of your arrest. 

These requirements exist to ensure a more speedy trial and ultimately less time in jail or immigration detention

Post Bail, Find Freedom

If you cannot post bail yourself, you have options. A bail bondsman makes getting people out of jail their business. If you cannot post bail, you will ultimately wait for months in jail or an immigration detention center, depending on your situation. 

If you have more questions about bail or are looking for a bail bondsman, contact us. We can help you or your loved ones post bail today. 

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