Understanding Bail and Bond After Being Arrested in North Carolina

Being arrested can be confusing and distressing, especially when navigating legal terminology like bail and bonds. If you or your loved one find yourself in such a situation in North Carolina, it's essential to understand the differences between bail and bond.

Bail is the monetary amount set by the court to secure the release of an arrested person before their trial. This guarantees that the defendant will appear in court for all required hearings and proceedings. When a defendant fails to appear in court, the bail is forfeited to the court.

Bail can be posted in various forms, including property, cash, or a bail bond. A bail bond is a written agreement between the defendant, a surety (usually the bail bond agency), and the court. Usually, a bail bond is posted when a defendant cannot pay the entire bail amount. The bail bond agent charges a non-refundable fee, called a premium, in exchange for posting the defendant's bond and securing their release.

The Bail Bond Process

Shortly after a defendant has been arrested, they will appear before a judge for a bail hearing. The judge will consider various factors, including the severity of the charges, the defendant's criminal history, ties to the community, and flight risk. Based on these factors, the judge determines whether bail will be granted and, if so, the amount of bail. In North Carolina, bail can take various forms, including the following:

  • Secured bail: The defendant pays the full bail amount in cash or by using the property themselves directly. When the defendant attends all court proceedings, the bail is returned to them after the case has concluded, regardless of the case's outcome.
  • Unsecured bail: The defendant does not have to pay the bail up front but is liable for the total amount if they fail to appear in court
  • Surety bond: a bail bond agent posts a bond on behalf of the defendant, requiring the payment of a non-refundable premium, which is usually a percentage of the bail amount
  • A written promise to appear: In limited cases, the defendant may be released without posting a bill if they agree in writing to attend all court proceedings

In many cases, the bail amount is too high for the defendant or their family to pay upfront. Many people use bail bond agents that charge a percentage of the bail amount, usually around 10%, as a premium. The agent will provide the court with a bond that guarantees the defendant's appearance. Regardless of the trial's outcome, the bond will be released after all court proceedings have been completed. When a bail bond agent is involved, the non-refundable premium will not be refunded to the defendant.

The Importance of Hiring an Attorney

Facing an arrest can be extremely challenging, but understanding the concepts of bail and bond can help you navigate the legal process more confidently. Bail and bond play pivotal roles in securing defendants' release from custody until their trial has concluded. If you find yourself or your loved one in a situation where you have been arrested and you need to pay bail, it is crucial that you speak to an experienced attorney.

Many unscrupulous bail bond companies may try to take advantage of you. An experienced attorney can help you decide the best course of action. The legal system can be complex. Having the proper guidance is crucial to ensure your rights will be protected throughout the process. An attorney can help you by saving your rights, helping you understand the process, and helping you avoid being taken advantage of as you move through the process.

Contact a Charlotte Criminal Defense Attorney

Dealing with the process of paying bail is an essential step in the criminal process, but it is only one of the first steps you will need to take. Unfortunately, many innocent people are arrested for crimes they did not commit in North Carolina. In other cases, people have been overcharged by zealous prosecutors. Getting out on bail is only the beginning of a very stressful and complex process. Working with a public defender may not be the best strategic option for many defendants.

Hiring an experienced, aggressive criminal defense attorney can increase the chances that you will have a successful outcome in your case. If you or your loved one have been charged with a crime in North Carolina, do not hesitate to contact Arnold & Smith, PLLC, to schedule a free case evaluation.