Bail Options in Atlanta
How does Bail Work In Georgia?
In Georgia, the purpose of bail is to allow someone accused of a crime to stay out of jail while awaiting their appearance at trial. It is not meant to be punitive in nature or serve as a separate punishment. In determining the bail, most jurisdictions have a "bail schedule," which specifies bail amounts for common crimes.
A judge considers several factors when fixing a bail amount. The primary factor is the likelihood of the defendant leaving the jurisdiction to avoid a sentence, and what ties they have to the community (whether the defendant has family in the area, how long they have resided in the jurisdiction, job status). The judge will also consider the defendant's criminal history to determine how reliable they have been in the past in attending court.
What Factors Influence a Bail Amount?
Other factors that could affect bail amount include:
- the defendant's ability to pay;
- the seriousness of the offense;
- the defendant's character and reputation;
- the interests of public safety;
- whether the accused is likely to commit the same crime again;
- whether the accused is likely to return to court and answer to the charges;
- whether the charge is in fact eligible for bail.
Note that anyone charged with a misdemeanor offense is entitled to a bail bond. However, sometimes a licensed driver charged with a misdemeanor may surrender their license in lieu of bail, up to $1,000, after they have been incarcerated for at least 5 days.
What are the Four Different Types of Bonds Available?
In general, there are 4 types of bail bonds available to secure a release from jail – cash bond, property bond, own recognizance, and a professional bondsman/bonding company.
The cash bond option is always available. Be aware that if you choose the cash option, you must pay the entire bail amount but can possibly be released in a matter of hours. The benefit is that as long as you do not miss a court date, you get your money back at the end of the case, regardless of the outcome. Depending on the jurisdiction, some do not accept credit cards or checks.
Alternatively, you or someone on your behalf may post a property bond. To do so, most jurisdictions require the following:
- a warranty deed,
- a current tax statement (showing the property's fair market value),
- a current mortgage statement (payments must be current), and
- the presence of all those whose names appear on the deed.
The property bond option is less advisable if your bail is a small amount of money. Property bonds also take more time for release. Note that with this option, under Georgia law the owner of the property must have equity in the property equal to or greater than twice the amount of the bond.
With the “own recognizance” method, an individual may sign a form instead of making a payment. In this scenario, the judge will take your word that you will show up for all court appearances. This is usually available for minor misdemeanor offenses and misdemeanor traffic offenses, and it is very rare to have such a bond in a felony case or high and aggravated misdemeanor.
For those who do not wish or cannot afford to put up bail money, they may opt for a bail. A bondsman posts bonds for criminal charges, and the bonding company will charge a fee (usually 12-15% of the bond amount). Unlike a cash bond, this fee is non-refundable; what an individual pays to a professional bonding company is their fee in exchange for the risk of the person not appearing in court. Some bonding companies also ask for a deposit to limit their risk.
Can you Bail Yourself out of Jail in Georgia?
In Georgia, you can bail yourself out of jail if you are financially able to at the time of the arrest. Since bail is cash, you must have the cash handy at the time of the arrest. If a friend or family member has the cash available, they can pay the defendant’s cash bail. However, if posting cash bail is not possible, people turn to a bondsman. While this is usually done by a friend or family member of the defendant, the accused may pay for the bail bond themselves in some cases
Contact the Law Office of Ahmad R. Crews Today!
If you or a loved one is facing bail options in Atlanta, contact The Law Office of Ahmad R. Crews immediately for experienced legal counsel. Attorney Crews can evaluate your situation and help you determine your next best steps. You deserve a passionate and serious advocate who will work for you; let The Law Office of Ahmad R. Crews help.
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