If you or a loved one is ever arrested knowing about bail and how it works can help save a great deal of aggravation and emotional strain. Ultimately, bail is a monetary payment that is given in exchange for a suspect's freedom from jail. Bail amounts can change depending on a variety of circumstances including a person's past criminal history, the severity of the crime, and the likelihood that a person will appear in court for trial after being released from jail on bail.
There are many different ways for a person to post bail and different types of bail available. Sometimes a person may post a full cash bail. This means that the total amount is paid to the police department with cash. Certain departments will also take a credit card payment. Many people do not have that amount of cash or credit on hand though so bail bonds are a popular option to have a loved one released from jail.
A bail bond is obtained from a third party person or company called a bail agent. A bail agent is a person who is backed by an insurance company that will pay the courts the money of the bail should the person not appear in court. In exchange for the service the bail agent usually requires the friend or family member of the accused 10% of the bail along with some sort of collateral for payment.
A person can also be released from jail with what is called a cite out. In this type of arrest the suspect is never actually brought into the police station and booked but rather is given a citation with the understanding the suspect must appear in court. This is often used for minor crimes so that police officers can spend more time and energy focusing on serious criminals. Another type of bond that can be used is a property bond. In this type, the suspect is able to get what is called a lien against property. If the suspect does not show up for court the property is then forfeited.