What Happens if I Can Not Pay Bail?

Gallaecia_petrea_02-57c-200x300Many people can not afford to post bail when they are arrested. This has caused a lot of Illinois prisons to be overcrowded. Legislators in Chicago has taken several measures to try to lower the cost of bail.

This summer, the Governor Rauner signed legislation allowing bail relief to non-violent offenders at a local Chicago Baptist Institute. This will create the opportunity for those who are detained for low-level crimes to pay a lower fee to be released. The Governor believes that this is “an important step in improving our state’s criminal justice system. Our system must work equally for all our residents, in every community, regardless of their income,” Rauner said. “We should be focused on putting people in jobs, not jail.”

Knowing When and How to Post Bail

As soon as you are charged with a crime, you have the right to call an attorney. You can get a bond. A “C” bond allows you to pay the full amount in cash. A “D” bond allows you to pay a percentage of a bail. This will most likely be 10%. The last option you can propose is to give collateral. This can be a lien on real estate or a personal property. In some cases, one does not even have to pay bail; you can just be released on a written promise.

Why a Defendant is Released on Bail

All across the United States, our rights are being protected by the Constitution. Just because someone is accused of a crime does not automatically make that person guilty. In Chicago, if you are accused of a crime, you are allowed to post bail. That is, as long as the crime you committed is not capital murder. The same goes for anything that can carry a sentence of life in prison.

The Central Court Magistrate decides how much a person’s bail is. The underlying issue in our country is that many magistrates are setting the fee too high. It is harder in metropolitan areas when it comes to bail. Chicago has a large population of low-income residents. Most of the individuals accused of a crime suffer from poverty. This can create much concern and worry over the inequity of the system. A lower bail allows accused ones to stay out of jail until it is time to go back for a hearing. Your money will only be forfeited to the court if you do not appear for the court hearing.

What if I Can Not Afford to Post Bail?

Let’s say you are low on funds and all options have been exhausted. This is understandable. Countless people have been wrongfully arrested while living from paycheck to paycheck. They are making minimum wage, making it impossible to save. Searching for the funds to post bail can be a daunting task.

If you find yourself in this situation, try to contact as many close relatives and friends as possible. If you can promise that you will repay, they might be more willing to assist you. Having connections can go a long way if you are struggling to pay bail.

Coming up with a reasonable plea can soften the judge’s heart into considering lowering your bail to an affordable amount. If it is your first time being arrested for a crime, there is a higher chance that your bail amount will be reconsidered.

It is important that you know your rights when you are accused of a crime. The Constitution declares that everyone’s bail should be set at a reasonable and affordable amount. If you have any more concerns about what happens if you can not afford to post bail, feel free to call David Freidberg Attorney at Law at 312-567-7100. You will receive valuable advice and a no-obligation consultation.

(image courtesy of Gallaecia Petrea)