Bails / Bonds

Contact Kermit Yearick

570-660-0780

If you have been arrested and charged, the court may require that you post bail. A bail hearing is when the judge sets the bail that will be required. This is a very important matter that warrants getting professional representation. Otherwise, depending on the case, you could spend a long time awaiting trial--from prison. Call the Masorti Law Group for information about legal representation for bail hearings. Our ability to advocate for a reasonable bail amount could allow for your release pending trial.

Bail vs Bond

A bail amount allows for the conditional release of defendants facing criminal charges. Bail’s main purpose is to ensure that defendants will return to court for trial without, at the same time, being unreasonably high or oppressive.

Pending court approval, defendants alone can post bail. This is called a personal recognizance bond, which is an agreement to pay more if the defendant fails to show up on the court date.

For defendants who cannot afford to post bail, a bail bondsman can be used to provide a surety bond, thereby pledging money on the defendant’s behalf. The bonding company usually charges ~7-10% of the total bond amount for this service. In addition, collateral is offered for the loan, such as a car or house. The bonding company will then pay the court a portion of the bond, agreeing to pay the full amount should the defendant not appear in court (at which point the defendant loses their collateral).

Not all bond amounts or bond conditions are fair to defendants. If you or a loved one faces such a circumstance, we have a long track record of successfully reducing bonds or changing bond conditions.

Bail: Eligibility and Determination

An individual’s circumstances determine eligibility for bail or bond. However, many defendants are eligible. In fact, with few exceptions, the U.S. and Pennsylvania Constitutions provide prisoners the right to bail before trial.

The bail amount set by the court will be based upon the severity of the offense, whether misdemeanor or felony, and the degree to which the court believes you are a flight risk. Criminal history also matters, as well as whether you have previously missed a court date or had a bench warrant issued. The prosecutor will, generally, want to keep you imprisoned if possible, especially if you are accused of a serious offense. Ultimately, the judge has a great deal of discretion regarding the bail amount and conditions, which is why it is imperative that you have professional legal representation advocate on your behalf. It may be necessary to show your ties to the community, financial issues that make it impossible to pay the amount requested, or other information to help reduce the bail amount or change its conditions in your favor. As an experienced PA criminal defense law firm, we can help you with any issue surrounding bail.

Call our firm today for assistance in bail hearings, and for information about posting bail, a bail bondsman or other bail-related matters.

Methods

Posting the Bond in Person

The holding facility will be able to tell you where you can post bond. Normally, it will be at the jail, although it may be at the court. There are facilities that will only take cash, while others may accept other forms of payment, such as certified funds or credit cards.

When providing a large amount of cash, the facility may hold the funds, but not technically apply them to the bond until the source of the funds is proven to be legal. Make sure to keep all records and receipts. The bond will usually not be returned until the case has been completed or ordered released by the court. The bond is returned to the person who posted it, though this could take several months.

Using a Bonding Company/Bail Bondsman

When using a bondsman, it’s important to remember they come in all shapes and sizes, and they all have a price tag. Normally, the bonding company’s fee is ~7-10% of the required bond. And then there is also the collateral. Every bonding company has its own requirements. For example, they may require you to remain in contact with them a specific number of times each week. They may also require drug testing, employment verification, and/or the address of a residence they can visit.

Losing the Bond

The purpose of posting bond is to ensure a considerable financial penalty if the defendant fails to appear in court. The bond is essentially a promise to appear. If the defendant does fail to appear, it is in the court’s power to forfeit all or part of the bond. If a bonding company paid on your behalf, they will be required to pay the rest of the bond. At that point, the bonding company will try to locate and return the person to the court in order to potentially recover their bond, or they may begin the legal process of seizing the collateral you provided.

If you have the ability to pay the entire bond, you should probably do so. You will save yourself the bonding company fee and having to put up collateral. However, it is important to consider that an experienced bondsman can expedite the process of posting bail. We have worked closely with bondsman Kermit Yearick (570-660-0780) for many years. He has a record of getting our clients out on bond as quickly as possible.

Keep in mind that once bail is posted, it still takes time for the person to be processed out of jail. So be patient, and make sure that all personal property is returned once the person is released. If a personal effect is missing or broken, file a claim immediately at the jail.