Once an individual is stopped on suspicion that they are driving under the influence, a police officer must have probable cause to arrest and charge a motorist with a DUI. The overwhelming majority of people who have been charged with this crime are held at a local jail. Obviously, there is a lot of trauma and stress that comes along with being forced to spend time in jail, especially if this is a driver's first time being arrested. The answer to getting out of this predicament is to either “bail out” or “bond out.” Some people who have a vague understanding of criminal law may use these words interchangeably, which is understandable since they essentially warrant the same outcome. But they are different, even if these distinctions are relatively subtle.
For the purposes of this article, we'll differentiate between bail and bond and address their role in Pennsylvania DUI cases.
Bail, Bond and Bail Bondsmen
Bails and bonds both lead to the temporary freedom of a defendant from a jail or prison cell. However, there are specific elements that distinguish these terms such as, who is providing the money and what is used to pay these fees to free a defendant. As most people know, bail is a monetary amount that a dependent is required to pay in order to be released. People are given a duration of time for them to come up with the money, if they can't do so they will stay behind bars. Although a monetary figure is one of the most common types of bail. There are several other options that could be offered to an alleged perpetrator. However, whether or not this option is available depends on the nature and severity of a crime.
According to the Pennsylvania Crime Code, there are four types of bail options for release:
Monetary payment: this payment must be reasonable for the crimes that were allegedly committed. First time DUI offenders may be required to pay a smaller amount than those who have accrued prior offenses.
Nonmonetary condition: This form of bail may include a monetary payment and other conditions that don't involve money. A court could restrict social interactions, prevent an individual from leaving the country, city or state.
Nominal bail: This includes a deposit of an amount of cash that would guarantee an individual would be released.
Release on recognizance (ROR): First-time offenders are sometimes offered this option. An individual will not have to pay a monetary amount and will bail will not be set. All he or she must do is submit a written statement promising that they will be in attendance at the scheduled court date. This statement also serves as a guarantee that an individual will avoid run-ins with law enforcement furthermore.
Most people do not have the money to make bail, so they are given the option of electing to pay a bond. When a person elects to pay a bond, a third party, known as a bail bondsmen, will offer to pay the bond in exchange for the promise that a defendant will pay this money back. Bail bondsmen have a lot to lose if a defendant fails to show up in court. For this reason, the company secures the promises of their services through the use of collateral, such as a car or a house. In some cases, a defendant is expected to pay a percentage of the bail amount themselves to ensure the services of a bail bondsmen. Usually, when a person shows up to all court dates and is compliant with the wishes of the court, bail money will be refunded. However, a bail bondsmen agency may collect a percentage of that amount for their services.
Experienced Philadelphia DUI Defense Attorney
Getting arrested and charged with a DUI can be a stressful and overwhelming experience. DUI state laws are complex, so it's important you consult with a legal professional who can help you navigate through the criminal justice system. Philadelphia defense attorney Joseph D. Lento is here to help protect your rights. Contact him today.