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The Bail Process in Pennsylvania

If someone you know has been arrested in Pennsylvania, you may be wondering about the bail process. It’s always a good idea to familiarize yourself with the legal processes where you live. Then you can ensure that your rights and the rights of others are being observed correctly.

Arrest and Bail

Upon being arrested, the defendant will appear before the Magisterial District Judge, who then sets bail. The purpose of bail is to assure that the defendant sticks around for court proceedings. If the defendant cannot pay the bail that is set by the judge, the defendant goes to jail to await trial. 

The amount of bail is determined by several factors: the defendant’s previous criminal history, the seriousness of the crime, the defendant’s flight risk, and how strong the case against the defendant is. For first and second-degree murder cases in Pennsylvania, where conviction may carry a life sentence, there is no bail. When the bail amount is high and the defendant cannot pay it, Pennsylvania bail bonds can be brought into use.

Bail Bonds

A bail bondsman pays the bail in exchange for a fee, which is typically 10 to 13% of the bail amount. This is known as a bail bond. The bail bond is essentially a surety bond, meaning the bondsman is vouching for the defendant and asserting that he or she will show up for their court date. If the defendant fails to show, the bondsman may hire a bounty hunter to take the defendant to jail. 

Court Day

If the defendant shows up to court, the money put up by the bondsman or the bail put up by the defendant is returned. If the defendant skips out and does not come to court the money is kept by the court and a warrant is issued for the arrest of the defendant.

Choosing a Bail Bonds Company

If you are in a situation where you need bail bonds in Allentown, PA, it is important to know what to look for. A professional bail bond service will make your trip through the criminal justice system less stressful.

Serve the Local Area There are a variety of reasons why choosing a local bail bondsman makes sense. The most important is that you want someone that can reach you quickly in your time of need. Another thing to consider is that individuals working who are based and work in the local area will be familiar with the corrections facility you are dealing with. This knowledge can be beneficial as you make your way through the system.

An Established Business You want to work with an experienced company that you know will be around if you need to pick up the phone and call. Working with a well-respected bonding company ensures that you are treated fairly and the process is no more difficult than needed.

Flexible There is no doubt, bad things often happen at the worst possible time. A bail bondsman may be willing to work with you to negotiate more flexible terms in order to get you out of jail. The amount normally required is 10 percent of the bond. Some bail bondsman do give discounts for active duty or retired military or other groups. It never hurts to ask.

When contacting a bail bondsman it may be tempting to go with the first company that answers the phone. Before committing to a particular company, ask how long it will take them to get to your location if they routinely work in the area, and what percentage of bond you are required to have on hand. If you have anything other than cash, make sure that the bail bondsman accepts that as a form of payment.

The ABC’s of Bail Bond Agents

If you’re ever arrested and charged with a crime, you’ll be put in jail. In most cases, a court will decide how much money, or bail, you need to pay to avoid remaining there until your court date. The amount of bail set depends on many things, including the severity of the alleged crime and your criminal history.

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What Is Bail?

Bail may be cash or property you deposit with the court. But what do you do if you don’t have enough cash or property to cover your bail? You could ask a family member or friend. If that’s not possible, assistance from a qualified bail bonds agent like bail bonds allentown pa is your best bet.

What Is a Bail Bond Agent?

A bail bond agent has the legal authority to deposit a percentage of your bail amount with the court. Called a bail bond, this deposit gives the agent legal custody of you until your court date.

In other words, a bail bond agent risks his or her personal funds to guarantee that you will appear before the judge when required. In return, you pay the agent a fee for the opportunity to continue enjoying the comforts of your home, going to work or school and doing everything else you normally do.

Types of Bail Bonds

The amounts of bail bonds vary. As minor offenses, misdemeanors require the lowest bonds. Bonds set for felonies and protection from abuse (PAF) violations are higher and increase with the severity of the crime. Immigration and extradition bonds apply to those awaiting immigration status hearings or wanted by authorities for crimes committed in a different state.

What Happens After Your Court Date?

If you keep up your end of the bargain and appear before the judge as scheduled, the court will return your bail bond agent’s money. Don’t, however, expect the fee you paid the agent to be refunded. Instead, consider it a small price to pay for your freedom!