After an arrest, you will be taken to jail and booked into the system. A fixed bail amount may then be given (set according to a “bail schedule”) and you can be released from custody prior to your appearance in court. If a bond is not set you will have to wait for a bail hearing (or first appearance) with the judge on the next business day. The judge will take into account numerous factors when setting your bail amount, including (but not limited to) your likelihood of fleeing, the seriousness of your offense, your criminal history, the public’s safety, your likelihood to reoffend, and your ability to pay. If you fail to qualify for bail, you will be held in jail until your trial.
How to Pay
After a judge sets your bail amount you have 4 bond options:
- Cash: Paying the total amount of your bail in cash (many Georgia jails also accept credit cards, money orders, and traveler’s checks) is the simplest and fastest way to bond out of jail. These funds will be returned to you when you enter a plea in your case.
- Property bond: A property bond will be accepted if the owner of the property has equity in the property equal to or greater than twice the amount of the bond.
- Signature bond: (aka “own recognizance”, or OR). Depending on your criminal history, nature of your charge, and connection to the county in which you were arrested, a judge can choose to release you with your signature.
- Hire a bonding company: If your bail is too high or you don’t have time to wait in jail to see a judge, and you want to get out of jail ASAP, you can hire a bonding company licensed with the jail where you are being detained. After obtaining some type of surety from you (assets or another form of collateral), the bonding company will pay the jail the entire amount of your bail. You will pay the bonding company a percentage of your bail as their fee (usually 10%-15% of your total bail amount) which is non-refundable. The bonding company is then refunded their money from the jail when you show up for court. If you don’t show up for court, you will be responsible for paying the entire amount of your bail to the bonding company and a warrant for your arrest will also be issued. The bonding company can then send a bounty hunter to find you and return you to jail.
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