If you or a loved one has been involved with the criminal justice system, you know how stressful the process can be. Once a suspect is arrested, he or she will be held in a detention center while awaiting trial. However, the cash bail system allows most defendants a way to remain free until their trial date. For those who cannot afford to pay bail, a 24 hour bail bonds Allentown PA service may be able to help.
What is Bail?
Cash bail is an amount of money that is paid to a court as a form of insurance that a defendant will show up for future court dates. An arraignment, or preliminary bail hearing takes place, at which a judge determines whether or not the arrested person is eligible for bail. The judge then sets a bail account, taking into consideration the severity of the crime and the potential flight risk that is posed by the defendant.
The bail is paid to the court office in cash. In some cases, a court may accept collateral property in lieu of the cash amount. In the event that the defendant doesn’t show up for trial, the entire amount of the bail, or collateral property, will be forfeited to the court.
What Happens if a Suspect Cannot Afford Bail?
Because bail amounts can run into many thousands of dollars, many people don’t pay cash bail in full, instead electing to use the services of a bail bondsman. A bondsman, or bail agent, is a financial services professional who issues surety bonds to a court to secure a defendant’s release while awaiting trial. Bail agents work for a fee equal to roughly ten percent of the total bail amount. They may also require collateral. Some bail agents offer additional financing options, such as extended payment plans.