How Does Bail Work?

Naperville criminal defense lawyer, eligible for bail, posting bail, bail amount, bail bondsMany people are misinformed about how bail works. It is not uncommon to hear phrases like “bail you out” or for people to think that bail is simply a means to pay one’s way out of jail. This is not the case at all. Bail is basically a surety that an individual pays in order to get out of custody shortly after being arrested. By paying bail, the individual promises that he or she will be at his or her scheduled court date, which is typically his or her arraignment hearing.

Your criminal defense lawyer can help you understand bail better and help you procure the bail bond you need to get out of jail. Face it — jail is uncomfortable. By posting bail, you can enjoy liberty and the comfort of living in your own home as you prepare for your hearing.

Posting Bail

When an individual makes a bail payment, he or she “posts bail.” When he or she posts bail, he or she is free to leave jail with the promise that he or she will return for the follow-up hearing. Generally, bail comes with a set of requirements that the individual must meet while awaiting trial, such as the requirement that he or she not be arrested again. 

You Might Not be Eligible for Bail

Not every person is eligible for bail. In Illinois, you cannot leave jail on bail if you are facing one of the following charges:

  • A charge that can result in lifetime imprisonment;
  • A felony that carries a sentence of imprisonment without the chance of parole; and
  • Certain weapon charges.

Additionally, if the judge determines that you pose a threat to the alleged victim’s physical safety or that of any other person, he or she may opt to deny you the opportunity to post bail. 

How a Bail Amount is Determined

How much bail you are required to pay to leave jail depends on a few different factors. These include:

  • Your financial resources;
  • If you are facing a drug charge, the street value of the drugs involved in your alleged infraction; and
  • However much the court deems necessary to ensure that you return to court. 

Once you appear in court, your bail is refunded.

Paying Bail

Bail can be paid in a variety of ways. An individual may pay his or her bail in cash or via check, with property worth the bail figure he or she is required to pay, or with a bond for the full payment of the bail amount. In some cases, the individual’ bail amount may be waived. Cases like this are known as being “released on his or her own recognizance.”

Work with an Experienced Geneva Criminal Defense Lawyer

When you are arrested, start working with an experienced Naperville criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible to develop an effective legal defense strategy. Posting bail is just one step in your interaction with the court — your lawyer will discuss what comes next with you during your initial consultation. Contact Law Office of Glenn M. Sowa, LLC today to schedule your initial legal consultation in our office.