Understanding the Basics of Bail in Birmingham

Posted by Steven Eversole | Oct 13, 2016 | 0 Comments

For those arrested as a result of alleged criminal activity, one procedure that may be part of the legal process is release from jail after arrest. Sometimes, release form jail requires something commonly referred to as posting bail. Bail is basically a guarantee to the court that if a person charged with a crime is released form jail pending court proceedings to determine whether or not the person committed the crime, that person will appear at court hearings related to the alleged crime. Bail is typically set during an arraignment hearing, the procedure in which a person is formally charged with a crime and has an opportunity to enter a plea. In Alabama, bail is governed by Rule 7 of the Alabama Rules of Criminal Procedure. The following provides some basic information related to the bail process in Alabama for criminal matters.

Types of Bail in Alabama

There are typically four types of bail in most states, including Alabama. The first type of bail is a public bond or public bail. This is often referred to as being released on one's own recognizance or to the care of another person. In this situation, the defendant or the person responsible for the defendant agrees to pay a specified amount of money if the defendant fails to appear in court for related judicial proceedings. It is typical to see this type of bail when the amount set for bail is low and the crime a person is accused of is of a less serious nature.

The second type of bail is known as a cash bond or cash bail. This type of bail involves the defendant depositing cash in an amount equal to the total or a portion of the bail set by a judge. The deposit can either be made by the defendant or by someone acting on behalf of the defendant, and is made to the court clerk who will hold that money until the judicial process related to the charges is complete.

A third type of bail is a professional bail or surety bond. In this case, especially when bail is set at a high amount, a defendant or someone acting on behalf of a defendant may seek out a professional bail bondsman that will post a defendant's bail on the defendant's behalf. The company posting bail for a defendant will usually charge a fee based on the total amount of the bail. Fees are usually in the neighborhood of ten percent, but could be higher or lower depending on the company and circumstances surrounding the bail. In other words, if bail has been set at $20,000, the company will post that bail and charge the defendant or person requesting bail on behalf of the defendant $2,000 if the fee is ten percent. As long as the defendant shows up for court proceedings, the company's bail amount will be returned to them and they will keep the fee charged for posting the bail. If the defendant does not show up for required court proceedings, the person guaranteeing the bond for the defendant will be responsible for the entire amount of the bail if the defendant cannot be located.

A fourth type of bail, which is less common but still valid, is a property bail or property bond. In these types of situations, a person that owns property in Alabama can post bail for an Alabama defendant by guaranteeing their property against the amount of the bail so long as such property meets certain requirements.

Legal Assistance with the Bail Process in Birmingham

If you have questions about bail related to criminal charges in Alabama, it is important to speak to a criminal defense attorney that has experience handling the types of charges the accused is facing. The right criminal defense attorney can argue for a lower bail on behalf of a defendant and can also help answer some legal questions that you may have regarding the bail process. Having an experienced criminal defense attorney by your side throughout the criminal defense process is an important step in building a strong defense. Contact the criminal defense team at Eversole Law to schedule a consultation regarding criminal charges you or a loved one might be facing. You will have an opportunity to learn more about the charges, the criminal defense process, the potential consequences of conviction, and the options that may be available to you based on your circumstances.

About the Author

Steven Eversole

J.D., Samford University's Cumberland School of Law, Birmingham, Alabama B.A., University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, Alabama

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