The Trouble with Bonds

In many criminal cases, the defendant is required to post some type of bond. There are four main types, a PR (personal recognizance bond), a cash bond, a cash/surety bond and a 10% bond. While clients typically prefer the PR bond, many judges do not grant PR bonds in most cases. I can say from experience that a person has a much better chance of getting a PR is he/she hires a lawyer and has him/her present at the arraignment. However, because a person is often arrested before he can speak with or hire an attorney, he is often stuck with whatever type of bond the judge decides to give out. Below is a brief description of each type of bond.

Types of Bonds

  •   A personal recognizance bond is a bond that does require  person to post any cash. Just sign a paper acknowledging the bond conditions and you are on your way.
  •   A cash bond requires that the full amount be posted in cash. Obviously most courts accept a credit card as well.
  •   A cash/surety bond means that you must post 10% of the bond have collateral for the rest of it.
  •   A 10% bond simply requires 1o% of the bond total be posted. There is not requirement for collateral.

A word of Caution

One of the most frustrating parts of being a criminal defense attorney is when a client calls you and has no money to retain you because they spent all their money on the bondsman. That is a completely backwards way of thinking. Get an attorney first and then see if he or she can lower the bond. Sometime a relative in jail is very insistent on “get me out.” However, you need to keep in mind big picture. It is far better to sit in jail for a few days and get a good lawyer than to get out only to go back later because you have an ineffective public defender. Do you want to get out or stay out. The family needs to keep the person in the jail calm and let the situation work itself out. Too many people are in jails and prisons that don’t have to be simply because they wanted to “bond out” right away. Very dumb and completely avoidable.

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