If you were arrested for DUI you had to spend several hours if not days in jail. Finally, you were able to talk to a family member or friend who “made bail” for you, and you were released into their custody. Before you go home, you may have to retrieve your car from the impound lot. Making bail after a DUI means to set free a person arrested or imprisoned (pending trial or resolution of an appeal) in exchange for security such as cash, credit/debit card, or real estate. Bail is forfeited if the person fails to appear in court as directed.
There are generally 3 ways to “post an appearance bond” and get out of jail as quickly as possible:
- You pay a percentage (usually 10% – 15%) of the bond amount by cash, credit card or debit card. Some jails may not take credit cards.
- A friend or family member pays 10% – 15% of the bond amount, or “pledges” real estate property used for bail (a property deed bond).
- A commercial bail bonding company pays 10% – 15% of the face amount of your bond. This fee is non-refundable – you will not get it back.
In all cases above the person putting up collateral is known as the “surety.” Remember, whoever is the surety will have to pay the full appearance bond amount if you do not show up for court . A “surety bond” puts up money or property that assures your appearance in court, or the payment of your bail if you fail to appear.
Do I Need to Use a Bail Bondsman?
DUI bail bond companies, or “bondsmen”, come in handy when you or a family member either don’t have the cash or credit to get you out of jail, or you or a family member do not want to be financially liable for the full bond amount. DUI bail bond companies will assume the full financial responsibility of your bond amount. The bond amount for a DUI and other traffic offenses can be thousands of dollars. In exchange for a non-refundable fee of 10 – 15% of your total bond amount, a bail bonding company will “post bail” and get you out of jail.
If you then fail to appear at your scheduled court date, and your DUI attorney is not appearing in court on your behalf, the bondsmen will find you and arrest you! DO NOT SKIP OUT ON BAIL! If you do, you will face more severe charges and penalties, and your DUI lawyer will have a tougher time fighting your original DUI charges.
If you are found not guilty and a judge discharges you from your drunk driving case, your appearance bond is released at this time by the judge’s order. The security given for the bond is returned (if cash) or released (if real estate or the written surety of a commercial bonding company).
Copyright 2015. William C. Head. All Rights Reserved.