Can’t Afford Bail? Here Are Some Steps to Take

What can you do if you can’t afford bail? Given that some bail amounts are set in the tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars, it’s a question many clients have. Few of us have that much cash set aside to spend on emergencies and risk the possibility of never being able to recover.

Bail is set according to a county schedule, as well as a number of contributing factors like how severe the crime was, whether the defendant is a flight risk, whether they have ties to the community, their criminal history and more. The amount is supposed to be enough that the defendant can’t afford to lose it, which guarantees their presence in court. If they attend all their court appearances and stay out of trouble, they will get their money back (minus any fees paid to a bail bonds agent). If, however, they violate bail, the amount is forfeited.

If you still can’t make bail, there are some steps you can take:

  • Request a lower amount of bail: If there’s no way you can afford to make bail, have your attorney request a lower amount of bail. They may be able to convince your judge to lower the amount to something you can actually pay.
  • Use a bail bonds agent: Most people are unable to pay tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars when they find themselves in need. Bail bonds companies allow you to pay a percentage of the total bail amount, as a payment to them. They’ll post the rest. If you go back to jail, you forfeit the payment and you’re on the hook for the rest of the amount.
  • Crowdfund: These days, one solution to what to do if you can’t afford bail is to try crowdfunding. A few bucks here and there can add up quickly. Before you know it, you may be able to post the full amount, and maybe even have some left over for later legal expenses.
  • Put up collateral: Some courthouses will allow you to post collateral in lieu of cash, such as the deed to your house, fine jewelry, expensive electronics and more. Find out what your options are by talking to the courthouse clerk or bail bonds agents.
  • Borrow from charitable or church groups: Some charitable or church groups have special funds for emergencies such as these. If you have good ties to the community, this could be an easier option than crowdfunding or putting up collateral.
  • Ask to be released on your own recognizance: Finally, for certain crimes, a judge may agree that you can be released on your own recognizance—that is, your promise to abide by the rules and make all of your court appearances.

Now that you know what to do if you can’t pay your bail, make sure to reach out to the team at Brazoria County Bail Bonds. We can help you make bail so you can await trial at home, enjoying your normal life. Call us today to get started.

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