Your Legal Rights at Work

3 Things You Need to Know About Posting Bail

by Lewis Hamilton

Posting bail is used to get yourself out of jail prior to a court appearance. It's typically required if you have a previous criminal history, or if you committed a serious crime. Bail is used to ensure you will show up at your court hearing, as you will lose the money if you do not show up.


Your first time appearing in court will be for your arraignment, and a judge will make a decision about your potential release before your court date. You may be released on recognizance, meaning that you simply promise that you will return to court for your hearing and not leave town. Judges do this for minor offenses, people without a criminal history, or if you have community ties.

A judge may also decide to set an amount for bail that must be paid in full for you to be released.

Setting & Paying Bail

A judge has an option to deny bail, or make the bail amount very high if they feel your crime is serious and there is a risk of you leaving town. If you have no criminal history, or the crime was not serious, a judge cannot make unreasonably high bail.

Bail is repaid in full if you comply with the orders of the court and attend every court hearing. If you needed to use the services of a bondsman, you will not get all of your money back. A bondsman typically requires a percentage of your bail in exchange for fronting you the money. Larger bail amounts may require collateral that will be lost if you leave town or fail to show up at court.

Getting Bail Back

The best way to ensure that you receive all of your bail back is by attending every single court date until your trial is finished. You will also need to comply with all release conditions. If you are unable to make it to a court hearing, you need to contact a court clerk so that they can schedule a new date. Your attorney can also request a new date for you.

If you happen to be late to court, do not skip the hearing. There may be a chance that proceedings are slow and your case has not started yet. If there is a true emergency that prevents you from attending court, always contact a court clerk immediately. It will help keep your money, and prevent an arrest from not appearing in court. 

For more information, consider consulting a law firm such as Gomez May LLP.