How Does Bail Work in Georgia?
Although the words “bail” and “bond” are used in the same ways, “bail” refers to money provided as security to ensure you will be in court for the proceedings, while “bonds” are given by bonding companies, and are pledges made to ensure that your bail will be paid if you do not appear in court. If you have been accused of a crime like a DUI, both can keep you out of jail while you await trial. This can allow you to prepare a defense, but it will not be available if you have been accused of a severe crime. How does the system work?
Who Sets My Bail?
Judges can set bond amounts and there is also a bail schedule, which is a guideline that determines the amounts for different offenses. If your bail is set by the latter, you might not have to appear in front of a judge to have it set. A judge will consider how likely a defendant is to leave town when establishing bail and will look at the following:
- How long the defendant has lived in the area.
- If the defendant has family in the area.
- Employment status
- The defendant’s community ties.
The seriousness of the offense, public safety threats, and the defendant’s ability to pay will also weigh heavily on the decision. Judges will also look at the accused’s reputation, the likelihood of another offense, and the defendant’s past history of appearing or not appearing in court on earlier charges. Some charges are not eligible for bail.
How Do I Apply for Bail?
Once your amount of bail is set, you can apply for a bond if you do not have enough available cash to cover the whole amount. The bond company will need to know the basics: your name, date of birth, charges, the jail that you’re being held at, and the amount. You need to pay 15 percent of the bail and a small county fee – cash and credit cards are usually accepted. Once they are paid, the company handles the details.
If all goes well, you will be let out of jail and pursue your defense. Remember that bail is not the same thing as a fine because it is a promise that you will appear in court to face the charges. A Failure to Appear (FTA) leads to bail bond forfeiture. The court keeps the bail bond money, and a judge will issue an arrest warrant for your new charges. Besides that, you will be responsible for paying the entire amount of bail to the bond company.
Will I Be Offered Bail for a DUI?
Defendants charged with DUIs in George might be hit with jail time depending on the nature of the offense. The state’s laws stipulate that drivers with a BAC (blood alcohol content) of .08 percent or more cannot be in actual physical control of vehicles; the percentage is .02 percent for drivers under age 21 and .04 percent for commercial vehicles. This applies to drugs and controlled substances.
For a first DUI offense, Offenders may face 10 days to 12 months of jail time. With a second, it is 90 days to 12 months. Those who are charged with a third DUI can spend 120 days to 12 months behind bars. This is on top of fines from $300.00 to $5,000.00, mandatory community service, insurance premium hikes and surcharges, license suspensions, and possible loss of license.
The Savannah DUI Lawyers at Kicklighter Law Advise Clients on Bail, Bonds, and DUI Charges
For a free initial consultation on matters pertaining to bail and DUIs, contact experienced Savannah DUI lawyers at Kicklighter Law. Complete our online form or call us at 912-754-6003. Our offices are in Springfield, Georgia at 412 N. Laurel Street, and we help clients in Springfield, Effingham County, Savannah, and surrounding areas.