Unlike the game of Monopoly, when you have been charged with a serious crime in real life there is no "Get Out of Jail Free" card. In most cases, however, it is possible to get out of jail either through the pre-trial release program or by posting a bond. The exceptions are cases involving capital murder, the federal crime of treason, a probation violation, or when there is a serious risk of flight or a threat to others.
Moreover, when bond is required the amount must be reasonable. As the Eighth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution states "Excessive bail shall not be required..."
But it often happens that the initial bond amount exceeds the ready cash of the defendant or defendant's family. To get released from jail, the defendant must then either go to a bail bondsman or try to get the bond reduced. The services of bail bondsmen don't come cheap: Typically they charge 10% of the bond amount plus fees, and these are non-refundable. If your loved one is in jail, it may make more sense to try to get the bond amount reduced.
Bail bond reduction and source hearings
An attorney can file a request for bond reduction hearing. At this hearing, the court will look at several factors, including:
Risk of flight - The judge will try to assess the likelihood of flight by looking at the defendant's prior history of appearing or failing to appear in court. He or she will also look at the defendant's ties to the community, and that is where an experienced attorney can really help.
Risk to others - The judge will examine any threats made to individuals or the community at large.
When the bond amount is $75,000 or more, there is one more complicating factor - the source of the funds. You must show documentation to the court showing that the funds to be used for the bond were lawfully acquired. Here too, an attorney can prove invaluable.
Getting out of jail obviously has many benefits. The defendant can resume a normal life, attend to his or her personal and financial affairs, and better contribute to the defense effort. If you have specific questions about bail bonds, consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney.