Should I Bail Out Immediately or Call My Criminal Defense Attorney?
This article is in reference to being arrested in Maryland. With that said – So you got arrested last night and sat at the jail for about 24 hours. It’s cold. The jail smells. The floor is hard. The food is terrible. You just saw the commissioner after waiting for hours and a bail was set. Your first inclination was to call your girlfriend to bail you out. The jail is designed to make people feel uncomfortable and of course you want to get out. So your first thought is to call the first bail bondsman you can find and pay to get out.
How you proceed with your case after an arrest is an extremely important decision. It should be made with careful thoughts and with the assistance of an experienced criminal defense attorney.
What is the most important thing you should do after you get locked up? CALL YOUR LAWYER!!!
Whether you should pay your bond should be a decision that’s made with your lawyer who is experienced with the jurisdiction where you are locked up, the bail process, and the court process. There are a number of factors in which you should consider before spending money on posting a bond.
What happens after an arrest?
Say you are locked up in Prince George’s County. Depending on where you were arrested at, you could be brought to the jail either in Hyattsville, MD or Upper Marlboro, MD. And depending on the type of criminal charges filed, a bail might be set. Suppose bail is set at $50,000.00. Typically, a bail bondsman will charge 10% plus a $10 fee . So in this example, you will need to come up with $5,010.00 in order to get out. THIS IS MONEY THAT YOU WILL NEVER GET BACK EVEN IF YOU SHOW UP TO EVERY ONE OF YOUR COURT HEARING.
You might not need to pay to get out.
After you are booked into the jail, typically you will have your first appearance before a District Court Commissioner within 24-48 hours. In some counties, it’s a faster process. For example, in Charles County, you are seen by a Commissioner within hours after you are booked becasue Charles County is not as congested as say Prince George’s or Baltimore County/City.
Your first appearance takes place at the jail. It is a bail hearing. During this hearing, you will be advised of your charges and penalties. Bail may also be set. Most people appear before a Commissioner without an attorney. But that’s a BIG MISTAKE. It should be a hearing that you want to have your criminal defense attorney at. At this hearing, the Commissioner will also determine probable cause if it’s a warrantless arrest. Without probable cause, bail will then not even be an issue. Therefore, it is important to have your attorney evaluate the Statement of Probable Cause and make arguments on your behalf. Even if you were arrested on a warrant and probable cause was already determined previously, your attorney may still be able to argue for your release without having to pay a bond.
YOUR BOND MONEY (THAT YOU PAY TO A BAILS BONDSMAN IS NON-REFUNDABLE)
It’s important to know that after your bail is set and before you pay it, your bond may increase or decrease. How? Well, if you don’t pay to get out of jail, you will have a bail review hearing within one business day. A judge will review the bail amount previously set by the commissioner. If I am representing you at this hearing, I can make arguments on your behalf for release. But if you posted bail, YOU DO NOT GET YOUR BOND FEE BACK. There will not be a bail review hearing.
Call a criminal defense attorney
It is very important that you consult with a criminal defense lawyer before posting bail or even before you proceed to a bail hearing. I will go over with you the risk and advantages of posting bail based on my experience with different courts and jurisdictions. Each case is different. Each court is different. So you should proceed with caution. I may be able to advise you on your changes in getting released on your personal recognizance, or whether your case will proceed to trial or not at all.
Whether to pay bail is a complicated decision and it should be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. If you want our help, just call 202-455-5610 for a free phone consultation. We’ll let you know what we think about your case and see if we’re the right criminal defense attorneys to help you out.
Rollins and Chan Law Firm
419 7th Street, NW Suite 405Washington DC, District of Columbia 20004