Just because a judge approves and sets your bail doesn’t mean you have to leave jail. If you prefer, you can await your schedule court hearing in detainment rather than posting your bail. Why stay in jail? Some people forgo spending the money on a bail bond, either because they do not want to waste money or they simply cannot afford to temporarily put up the full bond amount in cash. Even if you can afford to pay for a bail bond or front the full bond amount, you may not want to for the simple reason of conservative spending.
Continue reading to learn the average cost of bail, and how much you stand to save by opting to stay in jail.
Average Cost of a Bail
Most states have bail schedules with predetermined bond amounts for certain categories of crimes. For instance, shoplifting might come with an automatic bail schedule of $1000, while domestic violence might have a $10,000 bond or more. The more serious the crime, the higher the bond amount set by the judge. If a charge is a violent one, such as assault, battery, domestic disturbances, and child abuse, you can guarantee that the bond will be set high. Furthermore, all preset bond amounts, however, can be increased upon the judge’s discretion depending on the previously discussed factors. But not to worry, our U.S. Constitution protects us from excessive bond amounts. So they will be fair.
Bail Bond Fees
A bail bond company will charge a nonrefundable fee that is a set percentage of a defendant’s total bond amount. For felony charges, bond amounts will be higher, which means the cost of a bail bond will be too. The premium a bail bondsman is allowed to charge is controlled and regulated by the State’s Insurance Department. Currently, this rates are set between 10 and 15 percent. This means that the total allowable premium that bail bond companies are allowed to charge can be anywhere between these percentages. They get to choose how much they charge within this range. If a person is facing a felony charge and they have a history for fleeing, a bail bondsman will charge on the higher end, closer to the 15% marker. For first time or minor offenses, most stick with the 10% charge.
In order to decide how much you save by staying in jail until your court date, you must also consider what you lose by staying in jail. Although you can save money by forgoing the non-refundable fee of a bail bond, you may subject yourself to lost wages as a result of time off work. Many people have other responsibilities that make the bail bond fee worth paying, such as children and child care, illness, scheduled trips or events, and more. This means a bail bond fee is sometimes more affordable than the other losses you risk by staying in jail.