If you were arrested, you’ll likely be given the opportunity to post bond, or pay an amount determined by a judge to secure your freedom until your trial. However, not all defendants can afford to make bail. Here’s what happens if you’re arrested and posting bond isn’t possible.

How Bail Works

First, it’s necessary to establish how bail works. After your arrest, your judge sets your bail. This amount must be paid to the court as a “deposit” of sorts to ensure your appearance at your trial. After your trial is over, the money is returned to you less court fees. The more serious the crime a person is arrested for, the higher their bail is set and in some cases, a defendant may be denied bail.

What Happens If You Or a Family Member Can’t Afford to Make Bail?

If you can’t afford to make bail, you may be able to:

Get Released on Your Own Recognizance

If you have good credit history and haven’t been in trouble with the law before, you may be able to be released on your own recognizance. This means that essentially, you’ve proven to the court that you can be trusted to show up to court for your trial.

Hire a Bail Bondsman

if you can’t be released on your own recognizance, you may be able to hire a bail bondsman. A bail bondsman offers a loan to defendants to cover the cost of posting bond, usually with collateral of some kind in place, like a sum of money, a car title, or a mortgage. If the defendant doesn’t have collateral, they may be able to ask a friend or family member to put up collateral for them.

Will You Remain Detained?

If you cannot afford to post bond and have no way to offer collateral to a bail bondsman, you may have to remain detained until your trail. Sadly, 2/3 of the 750,000 U.S. residents jailed at any given time are waiting for trial and 90% of them can’t afford to make bail.

When to Contact a Florida Criminal Defense Lawyer

If you were arrested for a crime, it’s crucial that you reach out to a Florida criminal defense attorney as soon as you can. Your lawyer can assist you and your family in finding a bail bondsman and can negotiate with the judge to lower your bail if the initial amount it was set for is unreasonable. Call criminal defense and family lawyer T. Martin Knopes for more information or to schedule a consultation at (850) 683-0700.