My friend has been arrested and her bail is set at $10,000 - she hasn't seen the judge yet.
The police have followed the bail schedule for her charge and that's where they came up with $10,000. You can bail her out now before she goes to see the judge.
I have $10,000 to bail her out - will I get my money back?
If you have that amount you will be paying what's sometimes called "cash bail". You will pay the court or jail directly and they will hold your money as a guarantee that your friend will make the court appearances required of her. At the end of the case, the court will exonerate the bond and depending on the jurisdiction, you will get your money back in 4-6 weeks.
I don't have that kind of money - but I do have a little bit - what can I do?
You can go to a bail bonds company and have them post a bond on your friends behalf. The way it works is that they charge you a percentage of the actual bail amount - usually 10%. So here it would be $1,000. You pay the bail bonds company $1000 and they cover the rest of the bond so your friend can get out. Depending on the amount of the bail, some companies will require collateral or multiple signors. Some companies try to be competitive and will charge only 8%, so here in this example that would be $800. Some even allow payments.
In a bond company situation, you will not get your money back at the end of the case.
Ok, so I got my friend out by posting bail/bond for her - will the Judge put her back in custody?
If she makes her appearances, doesn't pick up any new cases, and doesn't violate any conditions of bail, such as a protective order, then she should be fine. However, the judge can choose to keep the bail amount at what it is, but if extra charges are filed beyond the initial one for which she was arrested, the court will likely increase the bail amount to reflect the new charges. Then additional money will have to be posted to make up the difference between the money already posted and the new bail amount.
I don't have any money to help her out - can she just get released?
The judge has the option of releasing her on her own recognizance "OR". The judge will consider the seriousness of the offense, danger to the community, ties to the community, previous failures to appear, and her record. If the judge releases her OR then she doesn't have to post any money to get out, but she does have to sign a promise to appear.
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