Jail or Bail: Should I Stay in Jail and Await Trial?

Jail or Bail: Should I Stay in Jail and Await Trial?

Here’s a hypothetical situation, but one that’s very common: an individual has been arrested and accused of a crime, and there’s a pretty strong case against them. He or she may assume that they’re probably going to spend some time in jail anyway, so why bother with a bail bond? He or she might wonder if it’s really worth the money to post bail or if it’s better to just stay in jail and wait for trial. After all, staying in jail seems to make financial sense if they are going to end up in jail anyway, plus they may also be able to reduce their sentence through time served before the conviction.

Is this ever a wise decision?

The short answer is “probably not.” Getting out of jail is almost always the better option. Here’s why.

Can I Just “Wait it Out” in Jail?

During your criminal case, a judge may set bail, which is the amount of money you must give to the court to be released from jail while your matter is pending. Because you might not have imagined you'd be charged with a misdemeanor or felony, you may not be in a position financially to pay the entire amount. You might wonder whether you should just "wait it out" until your scheduled court appearances.

Sitting in jail until your court date presents risks and limitations that can hinder your ability to prepare for your case and can put a strain on your personal and professional life.

Below are a few reasons why "waiting it out" in jail may not be your best option:

  • Your liberties are restricted: Jail is not a nice place. When you're in jail, your life becomes very regimented. For instance, you can have visitors only for a certain amount time during specific hours, you may be required to share a space with a stranger, you'll lose privacy, you may only be able to go outside for fresh air during specified times. Nearly everything you do is monitored and controlled by the jail staff. The troublesome part of this is you face these limitations even though you are presumed innocent.
  • Your job may be in jeopardy: Although the court has certain timelines to schedule appearances for the accused, you can still miss work because you're sitting in jail. Failure to show up at your job might lead to your dismissal, affecting your finances and your ability to provide for your family.
  • Your mental health may decline: As mentioned earlier, you must follow strict schedules when you're in jail. Because of this, you may not have access to activities you previously enjoyed, and you might not see your loved ones as often as you'd like. That, coupled with the conditions of jails, can be taxing on your mental health. You might start to feel stressed or upset because of your situation.
  • Your ability to effectively work on your case can be affected: Although you'll be allowed to meet with your attorney while locked up, doing so in jail is much harder than when you're at home. Outside of jail, you'll have access to more resources, and you'll be able to retrieve information pertinent to your case more efficiently.

What You Must Understand About Statements in Jail

Even if none of the above convinces you not to wait for your trial in jail, you must understand that anything you say in jail can be used against you in court. Any incriminating information you inadvertently give up in conversations with your fellow inmates or a jailer, even if it seems innocent, may end up coming back to haunt you. It’s better not to be in this situation in the first place so that you can retain your privacy as you navigate the legal process.

What Happens if You Can’t Make Bail?

Even if you understand that waiting in jail is not the favorable option, the reality is that not everyone can afford to post bail. Luckily, waiting in jail is not your only option. By working with a licensed bail bondsman, you may be able to obtain a surety bond in which you will only be responsible for paying a portion of the full bail amount (usually at least 10%) and guarantee the rest with collateral.

Never Assume That Jail is the Only Way!

Agreeing to stay in jail with the mindset that there’s no way around a conviction is not an assumption that you want to make. Every criminal case is different, but one thing is always clear: waiting around in jail takes you away from life as it is meant to be lived. We encourage you to remember that you are innocent until proven guilty, and to contact a bail bondsman as soon as possible to discuss your options.

If you or a loved one was arrested and you need to post bail, reach out to Andy Callif Bail Bonds by calling (614) 945-4334 or by contacting us online. Since 1960, we've helped numerous people in Columbus and the surrounding areas get out of jail, and we're here to assist you with the bond process.


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