Maryland Criminal Defense Lawyer Explains Bail In Maryland

How Does Bail Work In Maryland?


What is bail?

The bail system works by releasing a criminal defendant from jail in exchange for money that the court holds until the criminal proceedings are finished. The court uses the money as a kind of financial guarantee that the person will not flee the jurisdiction. If you skip town then you lose the money and have the added pain of even more criminal charges.

How does the bail process work?

The bail system starts working once a suspect has been arrested and is booked. Once the suspect is booked, he or she will usually have to wait for a bail hearing. The amount of bail determined by the judge will depend on a variety of factors including the seriousness of the crime, the suspect’s previous criminal history, ties to the community, and whether violence was involved. Bail is purely up to the judge’s discretion, so avoid getting on the judge’s nerves.

What kinds of bail exist?

One type of bail is known as a cash bail, which is just like what it sounds. With this type of bail the suspect must pay the full amount of bail in cash, certified check or money order. The court then holds the cash until the criminal proceedings are concluded at which point the money will be refunded.

Another option is that the judge might decide to release a suspect on his or her own recognizance. This means that it is the person’s responsibility to show up to the scheduled court dates and that no money will be required for bail. This only happens in minor, nonviolent cases.

An alternative to the cash bail, and the one is among the most common forms of bail is known as surety bond (also known as bail bond). Surety bonds are especially helpful in cases where high bail amounts are set. In these cases, friends or family go see a bail bondsman and reach an agreement to get the money. The bail bondsman usually charges a 10 percent fee and often asks for collateral to help secure the remainder. The bondsman has a great incentive to ensure that you show up to all your scheduled court dates because they are on the hook if you skip town. It’s because of the surety bond system which only requires defendants to put 10 percent down that so many people are able to get out of jail in cases where their bail amount is insanely high.

Need help with a Maryland traffic ticket or drunk driving offense? Call me at 301-563-9575 or 1-877-566-2408 for a free consultation. I’m an experienced Maryland criminal defense lawyer and I’d be happy to help. I practice law throughout the entire State of Maryland.