When individuals are arrested and held on bail, they cannot get released from jail before trial unless they pay the full amount of the bail to the court, use a bail bond agent (when applicable), are released by the court on their own recognizance, or have the charges dropped or dismissed.
Failing to Make Bail
There are many inmates who cannot afford to pay even a small amount for bail. There are more than 12 million bookings into jails across the United States each year. Most of these bookings are for nonviolent, low-level charges. Over 60 percent of inmates have not been to trial. Up to nine of 10 of those people in jail can’t afford to post bond. As a result, almost $14 billion a year is spent on pretrial confinement.
Even when people only spend a few days in jail, they can experience significant consequences. Many lose their jobs or homes. Some even lose custody of their children. Pretrial detention has shown to make many defendants more likely to commit another crime and less likely to return to court. In addition, when individuals spend the entire pretrial detention period in custody, they are more likely to be sentenced to longer terms in jail or prison. These are just a few of the consequences that can occur when unable to post bond.
Are There Answers?
There are some states, including the District of Columbia, that have replaced a cash bail system with a risk assessment program. This program evaluates whether a defendant is simply too great of a flight risk to release. Most defendants who come through this program are released under minimal supervision or on their own recognizance. About 15 percent are incarcerated. For the District of Columbia, about 89 percent of defendants appear in court. This is about the same as those jurisdictions with a cash bail system. New Jersey is the latest state to use a pretrial risk assessment program.
Bail bond agents can be part of the answer. They usually require ten percent of the bond, depending on the state laws. When someone doesn’t appear in court, the bail bond agent, with the help of a bounty hunter, can return the individual to jail. However, this is often a solution for larger bonds. The defendant still has to come up with the money for the bail bond agent.
Failing to make bail can lead to a number of consequences down the line. To learn more about bail bonds in Washington State, contact All City Bail Bonds today.