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What Are Your Bail Options In A Criminal Case?

When a criminal court requires you to post bail, you have several options. Depending on how high the bail is set, your resources and the expenses involved, you can evaluate which type of bail works best for your situation.

Court clerks operate based on Maryland Court Rule 4-217 Bail bonds, which the legal basis for all bail bonds. Types of bail include:

  • Cash bail: For bail of $2,500 or less you can post bail through a cash deposit or certified check of 10 percent. Friends or family can post bail, but they are responsible for the full bail amount if you fail to appear at appointed court dates.
  • Intangible property: The court often accepts intangible property for bail such as certificates of deposit (CDs), bankbooks, letters of credit from a bank or stock certificates. Credit or debit cards may also be used to secure bond.
  • Real estate property: If net equity in real estate property owned by the defendant is adequate to cover the bail amount, defendants can post bail this way. However, using property requires copies of a deed, property assessment and property tax bills with the owner’s name on it.
  • Bail bondsmen: When you secure bail through a bail bondsman you pay the bondsmen a fee, which is a percentage of the bail. This fee is not refundable. In addition, bail bond companies may require collateral or property to secure the bond.

With the first three types of bail, you avoid paying the bondsman fee, which is typically 10 percent of the bail amount. However, frequently with a bail bondsman, you do not have to put up your own money or assets to secure bail.

Also, keep in mind, your criminal defense lawyer can argue before the commissioner or judge that no bail should be required or argue to reduce the amount of bail set.

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