Bail and Bail Bonds with DUI Charge
Drivers arrested and charged with driving under the influence (DUI) may be released from police custody while they are awaiting the first court date for their DUI charges.
Prior to releasing the defendant, however, the court may require the accused to pay money- which is referred to as a bail- to give the defendant an incentive to return to court on the date of the trial. Defendants who do not return to court will forfeit whatever funds have been given to ensure their appearance at trial.
What is a bail bond?
Although some defendants may have the necessary funds required to make or pay bail, some defendants do not. Families who cannot pay the bail can contact a bail bond company and request a bail bond.
Under the bond agreement, the bail bond company agrees to pay a percentage of the bail amount for the DUI defendant. If the defendant does not appear for their trial, however, the bail bond company is offering surety to the court that they will pay the entire bail amount.
It’s important to note, however, that the bail bond company is not making the guarantee of bail out of the generosity of their heart. Bail bonds are big business. Not only is the defendant or family required to pay some type of collateral to the bail bond company, which they will lose if the defendant decides to flee, the bail bond company also has individuals- called bounty hunters- whose sole job responsibility is to track down defendants who have “jumped bail.”
Does everyone get bail for a DUI?
Not all defendants are given bail and released from jail. Some defendants may not have the option to pay bail and may be required to remain in jail. For example, bail may be denied if the defendant is deemed to violent to be released, their offense is too egregious, or the court deems them a flight risk.
Some defendants will also not be released on bail because the court has decided, instead, to release them on their own recognizance, which is a fancy term which means the defendant has given their written promise or guarantee that they will appear in court when needed.
Defendants are generally released on their own recognizance if they have committed a low level offense, they have a clean criminal record, they are a long-time residence of the area, they are employed, or they have good family support.
Whether or not a defendant is released on their own recognizance or bail is set is at the total discretion of the court.
What if I am given bail but I do not meet the terms of the court?
If you have been released on bail or bond for any DUI infraction and you do not follow the terms outlined by the court, the bail or bond may be revoked and you may be sent to jail. Common reasons the bail or bond is revoked can include:
-A failure of the defendant to appear in court
-The defendant decides to commit a second crime
-The prosecution determines the bail or bond should be revoked (this may or may not occur for reasons which are later determined to be criminal actions)
-The prosecution feels like the action of the defendant out on bail is jeopardizing their criminal case
-The bond company has determined the defendant is not meeting the requirements of the bond agreement (i.e., they are concerned the defendant is going to jump bail)
Review the terms of your release on bail
If you have been released on bail or bond it’s important to review the terms of the bail agreement. Some common conditions can include the following:
-Getting or keeping a job
-Avoiding contact with anyone related to your case
-Not using weapons, drugs, or alcohol
-Not committing any other crimes
-Staying or attending school
-Not travelling out of a particular area
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