Bail (Posting Bond) Following Criminal Charge
If you are arrested in Oklahoma, most counties will have a standardized bond schedule that they follow. However, in some counties and for some charges, the judge in your case will likely set a bail amount. Bail is a sum of money that you may pay in order to be released from jail until your case has been decided. This is also referred to as posting bond.
Purpose of Bail
The main purpose of bail is to ensure that you return to court for all scheduled appearances. Once your case has been decided, the bail amount should be returned to you. In some counties, the Court Clerk may apply the bail amount to any costs and/or fines due if you had posted a cash bond.
Denial of Bail
Not all defendants qualify for bail. The following are some potential reasons for which you may be denied bail:
- If you have been accused of a violent offense
- If you are facing a felony charge and already have two or more felony convictions on your record
- If you are facing an offense for which life imprisonment is a potential sentence
- If you are facing a drug charge for which 10 years imprisonment is a potential sentence
Determining Bail Amount
If you do qualify for bail, the amount will depend on several factors, including:
- The nature of the crime with which you have been charged
- Your previous criminal history
- Whether the judge considers you a “flight risk,” meaning whether he or she thinks you will attempt to flee and avoid trial
- Whether the judge considers you a threat to the public
In some counties, judges use a pre-determined bail schedule. However, judges typically have authority to raise or lower the bail amount at their discretion.
In many cases, the defendant does not have the cash or resources to pay the bail amount in full. If this occurs, a bail-bondsman may agree to post the bail for you in exchange for a fee—typically 10 to 15% of the total bail amount. The bail-bondsman may also set other conditions, such as:
- Checking in once a week or at other specified intervals
- Agreeing to stay away from certain places or avoid certain people
- Not leaving the jurisdiction without permission
If you do not abide by the conditions set by the bail-bondsman or if you are arrested for another offense while out on bail, the bail-bondsman may revoke the bond, which would result in your going back to jail for the duration of the case or until such time another bond is posted.
Lowering the Bail Amount
As a defendant, you may request that the judge lower the bail amount in your case. He or she will weigh all the factors mentioned above when deciding your bail, and in some cases may agree to lower the bail in exchange for another condition, such as the wearing of a GPS monitoring unit.
Another factor the judge will consider when determining whether to lower your bail is whether you have retained legal counsel. Hiring a qualified criminal defense attorney to represent you shows the judge that you are taking the case seriously and also makes you less of a flight risk. When the judge knows that you have invested in retaining a lawyer, he or she is more likely to lower the bail amount.
The staff at the Hunsucker Legal Group can assist in locating a bonding company that can assist getting your loved one out of jail or arranging to surrender and post bond on an outstanding warrant.