If you’ve never been called on to post bail for a friend or relative, it can be a little bit intimidating the first time out. The good news is that there are options out there, even if you don’t have cash for the full bail. The bad news is that you can’t post bail until an arraignment happens. The wait time for that court appearance can vary, and tends to be especially long on weekends and around holidays. Until the arraignment happens, the question of bail is open, and there’s no guarantee it will be granted.
Bail vs. Bond
Sometimes a judge requires bond to be posted instead of bail. Other times, the reverse is a requirement. The vast majority of cases, however, leave the option open. This is by design because it allows defendants who can not afford cash bail the option of working with a bond provider. For a fee that represents a small percentage of the bond’s total value, the bondsman posts the cash needed for bail. When you make your court dates, the bondsman receives that money back just like you would if you posted your own bail. The fee, however, is a service charge for the bond and is not refundable.
Timelines for Bail and Bond
When you hire a professional for bail bonds West Chester PA, the process does not take very long. Usually bonds can be drawn up and issued within a few hours of the application’s completion. It is still a little longer than handing over cash bail, but not by much. In either case, most of the delay in the process comes from the jail’s release process, and that process can be unpredictable. If there is little activity that day, it could be quite fast. If there’s a lot of pressure for intake paperwork on that day, though, the release could take longer.
Generally speaking, a prompt call for bond can get a defendant released within 24 hours of arraignment, and cash bail a little faster. The longer you wait to get the process rolling, though, the more you add to the delay. That’s why it’s a good idea to figure out who to call for bond before you know whether there is a need for it. Once the arraignment happens, you can choose to post bail or call for bond service based on what you hear about the costs involved. It’s the fastest way to respond to the situation, and the best way to get release as fast as possible.