Someone you know is facing jail time and you want to help them out. Your criminal defense lawyer is saying things that go over your head. You want to be on the same page as everyone else in the courtroom so you know justice is being done.
Courts issue bail to ensure appearance at future court hearings. There are exceptions to when bail is applicable. For offenses punishable by death or life imprisonment, a defendant (the person facing jail time) is not entitled to bail.
Bail is set for all acts of misdemeanor and felony. Once bail is set, there are conditions the defendant must follow. Their presence is a must at all court hearings, they must obey all orders by bail authorities. They must not harm or harass any witness or victim. They must refrain from any criminal activity.
For a detailed list of conditions, please click here. Check under “Third-party sureties.”
In Pennsylvania, here are a few ways you can post bail.
1. Monetary Conditions
Depending upon the prior record of the defendant, a court can decide to add certain monetary conditions to their release. According to the law, the money required must be reasonable. In that, it should instigate the defendant to return to court. Yet, not make it impossible for them to meet the release conditions.
2. Release on Recognizance (ROR)
Defendants, in most cases, prefer being “released on recognizance.” This is because money is not involved during this release. This is the best possible release situation for a defendant.
The court allows this release on the promise that the defendant will attend all scheduled court hearings. The ROR is usually given to those with a clean record or if the crime committed is non-violent.
It is a crime to miss court hearings in Pennsylvania. So, paying money isn’t always a motivation to get to court.
3. Unsecured Bond
This release also has no money involved. However, the defendant must sign a bond agreement. The bond becomes active when and if the defendant misses a scheduled court hearing. The amount needed for bail is then decided on the severity of the crime committed.
Posting Bail – Additional Information
To posting bail, you can put up cash, property, or hire a bail bondsman. The court will only accept property that is clear of any mortgage or lien. The defendant must reveal the value of the property, or have enough equity to cover the bail charges.
With bail bondsman, the rule is to pay a fee to secure their services. After getting paid, the bondsman signs a surety that you will be present for all court hearings. If you fail to attend, then the bondsman has to pay the bond to the court. At which point, you will have to pay him.
How Much Jail Time Before Bail
In Pennsylvania, the law directs that a defendant waits no more than 48 hours after the arrest to meet the judge. The process of posting bail takes a few hours to get through.
Depending on the seriousness of the crime, bond hearings can take place. This would mean the defendant would have to wait until the next business day. Late-night arrests may need an overnight stay.
If you’re looking for a certain inmate to bail out, click use a prison search service. We hope this demystified understanding of posting bail in Pennsylvania proved beneficial to you.
Remember that not appearing for court hearings, after posting bail, is a crime. Hence, the defendant can face charges for this second crime. There are possibilities the defendant may not receive bail a second time.