What Does It Mean to Be Released on Bail?

What Does It Mean to Be Released on Bail?

Being released on bail means that you're no longer held in police custody after being suspected of a crime. However, getting out of jail does not mean the matter you were allegedly involved in has been resolved. You must still go through a trial to defend your innocence.

Innocent Until Proven Guilty

One of the pillars of the American criminal justice system is the presumption of innocence. This principle means that if you have been accused of a crime, the government must prove that you are guilty. To meet this burden, the State, or rather a prosecutor, must present evidence in court that shows beyond a reasonable doubt that you committed the alleged crime. Generally, this happens at a trial.

The trial also gives you (and your criminal defense lawyer) a chance to face your accuser and cross-examine them. By doing this, you can reveal holes in the State's case against you and attempt to cast doubt on its evidence.

Building Your Defense

To be released on bail, you must pay a certain amount of money to the court. How much depends on various factors, which a judge considers during an initial appearance (your first court hearing after being arrested). Although the U.S. has a law prohibiting excessive bail and the judge is required to impose the least restrictive measures to ensure someone returns to court, often, the bail amount is outside of the defendant's financial means. If you are being held on bail and don't have the cash readily on hand to pay it, you can hire a bail bond company to post it on your behalf.

Essentially, when you're out on bail, you're allowed to remain at home – or someplace other than jail – until the trial process is over. Being released also enables you to prepare for your case, usually by working with a criminal defense attorney who knows how to challenge the allegations against you.

Rules of Pretrial Release

After you make bail, there are specific rules you must follow – these are typically referred to as conditions of pretrial release. The terms vary depending on your particular situation and are determined by a judge. For example, you may be restricted from leaving the State or may have to undergo a drug treatment program. One of the main conditions, though, is the requirement to show up to all scheduled court hearings.

If you fail to abide by that term, the judge could:

  • Issue a warrant for your arrest,
  • Revoke bail, and/or
  • Order you to remain in jail until your case is concluded

Additionally, if you fail to show up to any court hearing concerning your case, your bail will be forfeit. This means that if you paid the total amount out of pocket, you won't get any of it back after your case finishes – whether you are found guilty or not guilty. If you went through a bail bond agency, you will be required to pay them the remaining amount of the bond.

If you or a loved one was arrested and are seeking release from jail in Columbus, contact Andy Callif Bail Bonds at (614) 945-4334 today.

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