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What Happens If You Can't Post Bail? Find Out The Consequences

Posted on Nov 21st, 2023 by Bail Agent 239 Views

If you are charged with a crime in California, then you could be in for a daunting and traumatic experience. One of the factors that makes this situation so stressful is that people often don’t know what’s going to happen and what comes next. We’re going to pull back the curtain and help you understand everything that you need to know about what happens once you have been charged.

Regardless of the crime you have been charged with, you will be processed and taken to a county jail. At this time, all your details will be taken. Depending on the crime that you have committed, you may then be placed in a holding cell or you could be sent home. If you are put in jail, then you will remain there until you post bail.

Bail refers to the amount of money that you need to pay to get out of jail before your court hearing. Unfortunately, the cost could be quite high and range anywhere from $200 to over a million. The amount that you are required to pay will depend on:

  • The severity of the crime you are charged with
  • Any past history
  • Your position in the community 
  • Whether you are deemed a flight risk

Bail will be set during a bail hearing. Once this occurs, you may be able to contest the amount. However, the quickest way to leave jail is to pay it. Of course, it’s entirely possible that you are unable to afford the full cost of your bail. Let’s explore what happens in this type of scenario.

Can’t Afford Bail: What Happens Next? 

If you are unable to pay the full cost of your bail, then you will be required to remain in jail until a judge decides that you can leave. This could mean that you are required to stay in jail until your court hearing is complete.

A court hearing could be months into the future and it’s entirely possible that you will spend more than half a year in jail. Be aware that during this time you will not be able to earn, see your family or spend much time putting together your legal case. This could severely limit your chances of clearing your name.

If a judge learns that you are unable to pay the cost of bail, then they may move your hearing up the docket. However, it is important to be aware that this is far from a guarantee. Even if they do decide to take this step, there could be a busy schedule with a lot of people in front of you. As such, you could still be waiting a long time until your court date. 

Jail Stay Without Bail: How Long Can It Be?

You could be wondering whether you might have to stay in jail for an indefinite amount of time waiting for your court hearing. We are glad to say that this is not the case.As an American citizen you have a constitutional right to a fair trial. This includes a reasonable bail amount as well as a speedy trial. Ultimately, a court can not keep you in jail for any longer than necessary. 

As such, you should never spend more than a few months in jail waiting for your court hearing. The court is legally obligated to schedule any trials in a manner that is deemed both timely and appropriate. This also means that a court should aim to schedule a trial as quickly as possible for anyone who is unable to post bail. However, as mentioned, if the docket is full, then it could still take time. 

While your right to a speedy trial is protected by law, it is vital that you are aware that there is no specific time or limit for how long someone can remain in jail waiting for their court date. So under certain circumstances, the wait could be long and still meet the legal requirement of a speedy trial. 

There are very few benefits of remaining in jail while you await your court hearing. However, any time you spend in jail does count as time served from your sentence in the event that you are found guilty. 

No Bail Support: What Are Your Options?

The best advice is to get out of jail as quickly as possible. But if you don’t have the cash available, then you might struggle to do this. So, what are your options? First, you could consider liquidating your available assets including property. In doing so, you can free up the money you need. Depending on the number of assets you hold, this might be enough to cover the cost of bail. A problem with this step is that it will always take time to complete the process and during that time, you will need to remain in jail. 

You could also consider borrowing the money from family members or friends. If you borrow money from your loved ones then this could be one of the quickest ways to access the funds assuming you don’t have the money available yourself. However, do be aware that this will mean that they are financially responsible if you do not make the requirements of the bail including showing up for your court hearings. You may not want to be beholden to people who are this close to you. 

Perhaps the best option would be to use a bail bond service. With a bail bond solution, a bond company pays the full cost of your bail. This process can be completed in less than 24 hours which means that you will never need to worry about remaining trapped in jail for longer than necessary. 

A professional bail bond company can also help you get through this process in a way that is both stress-free and reassuring. You will need to pay a small percentage - usually ten percent of the total bail amount - to the bond company. However, this cost can be paid once your court hearing is over and be spread over several months. This means that it won’t put pressure on you financially. Don’t forget the full amount of bail is returned once the hearing is over. This occurs regardless of whether you are found guilty or not as long as you meet the requirements of bail. 

Bail Default Consequences: Unpaid Bonds Explained 

Regardless of what solution you use to cover the cost of your bail, it’s important to make sure that you are paying the amount required in full. This includes the fee that you are required to pay to bail bond companies. If you do not pay the amount required for your bail, then you can end up in a legal situation that will lead to various financial challenges.

For instance, you could find that a bail bond company decides to report you to the credit bureaus and mark the unpaid bail amount as a debt. If this occurs then it is going to severely negatively impact your credit score. It could prevent you from taking out a loan in the future. You may also find that you struggle to access another bail bond service if you need it further down the line. 

Do note that bail bond companies will always have an interest in making sure that any bail amount is paid in full. If you disappear, then they will take steps to track you down. They might even send a bounty hunt to collect the debt that is owed. If you have abided by all the requirements of your bail including showing up to your court hearings, then this will only be the percentage fee paid to the bail company. However, if you fail to show up to your court hearings, then a bail company will track you down to get the full amount of bail that they are owed. If you fail to pay this, then it is entirely possible you end up back in jail. 

Conclusion 

We hope this helps you understand everything that you need to know about what happens if you can’t afford the cost of bail. Remember, if you do find yourself in this situation, then there are options available to you. For instance, you may want to consider liquidating your assets or you could decide to use a bail bond service. It’s important to find the right bail bond company as they are not all equal. 

At Mr Nice Guy Bail Bonds, our team takes pride in offering the best bail bond solution, ensuring that no one has to spend more time in jail than necessary. We strive to deliver a fair solution that provides fantastic value for money. We also are always willing to go the extra mile for our clients. This could include helping you locate a loved one in jail or providing advice and support relating to the bail system. 

Get in touch today and discover how we can support you with your needs. 

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