How Bail Works in Ohio
Most people have heard the term “bail” or “bail bonds” but aren’t exactly sure how to answer the question, “How does bail work?”
Posting bail can pose a tremendous hardship on those arrested and their families because, without it, you’re forced to remain in jail. Plus, many families are simply unable to come up with the needed money. In fact, according to the ACLU, upwards of 12,000 people are held in jail each day in Ohio who haven’t yet been convicted, and many of them are there because they couldn’t afford bail.
If you’d like to meet with a criminal defense attorney and are in the Columbus, Ohio, area, contact the Wolf & Mote Law Group, LLC today.
What Is Bail?
Whenever you’re arrested for a crime, you’ll likely be placed in jail soon after and stay there until a trial date can be set. Since most people would rather wait out this time at home, you may be granted temporary release by a judge on bail which is where you pay a certain amount of money to the court and promise to return for your trial date.
If you then fulfill all your legal responsibilities, your bail will be returned to you at the completion of your trial. If you don’t attend, you will not get your money back.
Who Qualifies for Bail in Ohio?
Not everyone will qualify for bail and while there are state-specific rules on this, it’s ultimately up to the discretion of a judge. Typically non-violent offenders will be offered bail, as well as those who pose no danger to their community, can be trusted to return for their trial, or have familial obligations.
If you were charged with a violent crime, have a history of skipping bail, or have convictions in your past that indicate you could be dangerous or a flight risk, your opportunity for bail may be denied.
How Is the Amount of Bail Determined?
In all cases, a judge will determine the amount of your bail by considering the seriousness of the offense, your previous criminal history, and the likelihood you’ll show up for your trial. That said, there are some minor criminal charges for which local authorities may set bail.
What Are Bail Bonds?
If you can’t afford to pay bail yourself, you have the option of working with a bail bondsman. This service will post bail for you in exchange for a percentage of your total bail, typically around 10%.
If you then attend all your trials, the bondsman will be reimbursed by the court, but they will keep the 10% that you already paid. If you do not attend your subsequent hearings then you will now owe the bondsman the money and they have been known for using aggressive tactics to exact payment.
The Bail Process in Ohio
Ohio bail requirements will be slightly different depending on your charges. For example, if you’ve only been charged with a misdemeanor and are a first-time offender, bail may be set right there. In other cases, you may have to wait to be seen by a judge who will decide whether to allow bail and what the amount is. You have the right to have an attorney present at your bail hearing and this can often be helpful to reduce the total amount. Once the amount has been determined you’ll have to post bail with the courts before you’re released from custody.
Dependable Legal Assistance
No part of the criminal legal process should be navigated alone. If you need advice or representation, reach out to the Wolf & Mote Law Group, LLC in Columbus, Ohio. Attorney Wolfe serves those in Dublin, Westerville, Gahanna, Hilliard, and the surrounding communities of Licking County, Newark, Heath, Granville, Fairfield County, Lancaster, Pickerington, Lewis Center, Powell, and Delaware County. For experienced and trusted legal assistance, call or message his firm today.