Being arrested and taken into custody is a scary experience for anyone, regardless of whether your charges are for a misdemeanor or felony. You want out of jail as quickly as possible, of course. This typically requires you to post bail or pay a bail bond. But what is a bail bond and how do you get one in North Carolina?
What is a Bail Bond?
A bail bond, often just called bail, is a fee you must pay to gain release from jail. With bail, you also must agree to certain terms. In essence, your bail buys your release until the court resolves your criminal case.
In North Carolina, you must stand in front of a magistrate within 48 hours of your arrest. This magistrate sets your bail amount and other terms for your release. If your charges are for domestic violence, murder or some other crimes, exceptions often exist in these procedures. For your hearing, you need a criminal defense lawyer who will work to reduce the amount of your bail.
Types of Bail Bonds in North Carolina
North Carolina works with multiple types of bail as part of court processes. Not all of these require you to pay money.
Types of bail a NC magistrate sets include:
→ Written Promise to Appear
A written promise to appear requires you to attend all of your court hearings. For minor charges, the magistrate may release you from jail under these terms, alone.
→ Unsecured Bond
For an unsecured bond, the magistrate sets an amount you must pay if you fail to appear for court hearings. You do not have to pay this money to gain release from jail, however. If you do not appear for a hearing, the court enters a money judgment against you. This means you have to pay the money judgment and a higher bond for release from jail at that time.
→ Secured Bond
A secured bond is the most common type used in North Carolina courts. For this type, you must pay the bail amount set by the magistrate. You can pay in cash, through a bail bond company or using collateral.
→ Cash Bond
When the magistrate sets a cash bond, you can only use cash to pay for your release from jail.
If You Violate Bail Terms
If you violate your bail terms set by the magistrate, the court can revoke your bail and issue an arrest warrant. After arrest, you either face remaining in jail until trial or paying a higher bail bond with more intense requirements.
Do I Need a Lawyer for My Bond Hearing?
Whenever you experience arrest, it is best to hire a criminal defense lawyer. This lawyer can attempt to have your bail amount lowered by the magistrate. If that attempt fails, or if you do not have a lawyer at the time of your bond hearing, your lawyer can file a motion for bond modification. The lawyer goes to your motion hearing with you and works for a better resolution than the earlier bond amount.
A motion to modify bail either ends with an agreement of the prosecutor and judge for lower bond or objection by the prosecutor to this motion. You should not attempt to file a motion to modify bond on your own. This can result in the prosecutor requesting higher bond. Accordingly, the judge makes the ultimate decision, whether to raise or lower your bail amount.
How Do I Pay Bond?
Most people do not have the ready cash to pay for bail at the time of arrest. If you cannot access the amount you need, call a bail bondsman at DJ’s Bail Bonds. We serve clients in Raleigh and throughout many North Carolina counties.
By signing for a bail bond, you can get back to your everyday life while awaiting your hearings. When you attend all of your court proceedings, your bond is refundable.