What to do when you get a felony charge
For most people, getting a parking ticket or speeding ticket, or being arrested for shoplifting is bad news. What about being charged with a felony though? This is something that happens in movies or television, but how many people do you know that have this happen in your life? How would you handle it if somebody’s one phone call from jail was asking you to post bail for felony assault or post bail for felony vandalism, or worse felony bail for theft?
Would you know what to do, who to call? Do you even know what the difference between “bail” and “bond” is? If you’ve never had to deal with this aspect of the law, you probably know no more about what felony bail or bond is than what you’ve seen on the latest Netflix series you’re watching. While a lot of what you see in movies and on television is true, just as much or more aren’t. Read on as we provide answers to some of the most basic questions about bail, bond, felony charges, and more.
What does a bail mean?
As defined by Wikipedia, felony bail is when a judge sets pre-trial restrictions on the suspect in order to ensure that they will comply with the court’s process. It is the conditional release where the defendant commits to the court, they will appear at all court dates as required. In the United States, bail typically implies a bail bond.
What is the difference between a bond and bail?
A felony bail is what a person arrested on felony charges, or somebody on behalf of the defendant pays in cash. A bond is paid by or secured by a third party, a bail bondsman, that they will pay the full bail amount if the defendant doesn’t appear at any required court hearing. In most cases, a bail bondsman requires a fee, 10% of the bail is common, from the defendant as collateral. The defendant can pay this in money or other collateral, such as real estate or a vehicle.
Bail and bond are related, both referring to requirements imposed by a judge, typically of financial means, that backs the defendant’s promise to appear at all court proceedings. There are two forms of bonds: Secured and unsecured. A secured bond is when the defendant pays money or puts up tangible property to secure their release from jail. An unsecured bond requires the defendant to sign a document promising to pay the bail if they break the conditions of the bond. There are four different bond categories under secured and unsecured bonds:
- Released on Recognizance
- Cash – This is the bail reference
- Property – the title to real estate, vehicle, etc. is signed over
- Surety – a third party takes responsibility for the debt and defendant obligation
Can you get bail for a felony?
There are factors that a judge will consider before setting a felony bail amount. However, if a judge sets a felony bail, it is not always in the best interest of the arrested to post bail, especially if it felony charges.
The first phone call should be to an experienced felony defense attorney. They can review the facts and determine if a request to lower bail is possible, maybe even have bail removed. The attorney may recommend not posting felony bail because the chances of having the charges dropped are possible.
How much is bail for a felony?
Felony bail usually ranges between $1,500 up to $50,000 but can reach thousands of dollars, depending on the severity of the crime and any other crime committed during the felony. The United States Constitution prohibits felony bail being in an excessive amount. Prior to setting felony bail, the judge will listen to the defense and the prosecution arguments and consider the following facts:
- The nature of the offense
- The defendant’s employment, finances
- The defendant’s family and community standing
- The length of the defendant’s residence
- The defendant’s age, mental condition, reputation
- The defendant’s criminal history
Can you bail out of jail after sentencing?
Sometimes, yes. After conviction, posting bail will keep some defendants out of jail. A person who has been accused of a crime has rights to felony bail that will let them out of prison pending their trial, even after they have been convicted and sentenced, as they appeal that conviction.
Can a felon bail someone out of jail?
Yes, but for the felon’s own legal status, they should verify with their probation office first. Some probation terms may not allow this because the law would consider it associating with a known criminal, even an accused criminal, could be in violation.
Any type of legal trouble beyond the basic parking ticket or speeding ticket, the first call should be to an attorney. This is the best way to protect yourself and the outcome of the situation. Immediately posting bail, as we stated earlier, is not always in the best interest of the accused. Call 706-353-6467 today for your felony bail needs in Jefferson, GA.