Get The Information You Need To Get Out of Jail
If you find yourself in jail after an arrest, you have two equally important priorities: finding an experienced criminal defense attorney and posting bail. Because nobody wants to spend one more second behind bars than they have to, posting bail is your ticket out of your cell. But the process is unfamiliar and confusing for most people, especially those who have never been behind bars before. That is one reason that having a defense lawyer on your side right away is so essential – they can help you regain your freedom as soon as possible.
But even with a great attorney on your side, it is still important to understand the basics of posting bail in Colorado Springs. Here are some of the top FAQs about how to post bail in Colorado.
What Is Bail?
The length of time between when prosecutors charge you with a crime and the date your case goes to trial or otherwise gets resolved varies, but invariably it will be longer than you will want to spend behind bars. When you post bail, you are making a promise to El Paso and Teller County prosecutors and courts: let me out of jail now and I won’t cause any trouble and I promise to show up to court when required.
You back up that promise with money. That is bail.
How Do You Go About Posting Bail?
In El Paso County, bail can take several forms, but all bail winds up in the hands of the court. If you fail to appear in court or breach any of your release conditions, you, or whoever put up the bail amount, will forfeit that sum or any property pledged as security.
You can post bail yourself, or someone else can “bail you out” using their own money or property.
Bail typically takes one of two forms. The first is cash bail, wherein you or a family member will post the full bail amount in cash with the court. The second option is to secure your release with a bail bond or surety bond. This involves a licensed bail bond company signing a promissory note to the court, in which the bail bond company agrees to pay the full amount of your bail to the court if you violate the terms of your release (such as by leaving town). In exchange for the bail bond, you will pay a non-refundable fee (usually 10-15 percent of the total bond amount) and you may also need to put up collateral.
When Is Bail Set?
Soon after your arrest, the court will set a bail hearing, usually within a matter of days. At the hearing, the judge will decide the amount of bail or whether they will allow for any bail at all.
You might be interested in: What Are The Goals Of The Prosecutors In A Colorado Criminal Court Case?
How Does The Judge Determine How Much Bail Will Be?
Under Colorado law, the amount of bail and any release conditions “shall be sufficient to reasonably ensure the appearance of the person as required and to protect the safety of any person or the community, taking into consideration the individual characteristics of each person in custody, including the person’s financial condition.”
The judge must “presume that all persons in custody are eligible for release on bond with the appropriate and least-restrictive conditions” consistent with securing their appearance and protecting the community. El Paso County judges will consider several factors when setting the amount of bail, including:
- Defendant’s employment status and history;
- Nature and extent of the defendant’s family relationships;
- Past and present residences;
- Defendant’s character and reputation;
- Identity of anyone who agrees to assist the accused in attending court at the proper time;
- The likely sentence, given the nature of the offense;
- Defendant’s prior criminal record, if any, and any prior failures to appear for court;
- Any facts indicating the possibility that the accused will violate the law if released;
- Evidence indicating that the accused is likely to intimidate or harass possible witnesses; and
- Any other information indicating that the defendant has strong ties to the community and is not likely to flee the jurisdiction.
If I Do Everything Right, What Happens To The Money Or Property Put Up For Bail?
If you show up to court as required and follow all other conditions, the court will return cash bail, minus any outstanding fines and costs. With a bail bond, the fee you pay to the bondsman is non-refundable, and you will not receive back any funds after satisfying your bail conditions.
Next Step: Hire An Experienced Colorado Springs Criminal Defense Lawyer
Posting bail is one of your first priorities when you are arrested. The other is to find experienced Colorado Springs criminal defense lawyers as soon as possible. Look for an attorney who has experience as a former El Paso County prosecutor, who will be responsive when you call him, accessible when you need him, and always ready to fight on your behalf.