Put simply, bail is a form of property pledged or deposited to a court of law to compel the court to release a suspect from jail. Paying bail is a way of confirming that the suspect will show up to trial or else relinquish their bail and face the possibility of an additional charge – this one for failing to appear. The majority of the time, once the trial is over, if all appearances are made, bail money will be returned within about 90 days.
The amount of bail a suspect is expected to pay varies greatly from case to case and setting the price is by no means an exact science. Firstly, bail law differs from state to state. Generally a person charged with a non-capital crime is entitled to be granted bail. Some states allow the pretrial detention of individuals charged with serious offenses, if it can be demonstrated that the defendant is a flight risk or a danger to the community. In normal cases, however, posting bail is one of the most common ways to avoid pretrial detention. Besides state policies, another determinant of a bail charge is the severity of the crime. Suggested maximum bail amounts range from $300 for lower level misdemeanors to $100,000 for serious felonies. The amount is intended to ensure a defendant will be in court. Bond amounts are not punishments as they are determined before the defendant has been proven guilty.
The alternative to fronting the money in full is posting a surety bond a.k.a. a bail bond. The cost for this service is only a small fraction of the bail amount, typically 10 to 20 percent. When an eligible co-signer purchases a bond from a Georgia bail bonding company, as opposed to going straight to the jail and paying the full amount of bail which may easily total to thousands of dollars, he or she saves money.