Everything You Need To Know About Bail In Las Vegas
If you or someone close to you has been arrested in Las Vegas or anywhere else in Nevada, for that matter, you will need to know about bail so that you don’t languish in jail even while you haven’t yet been convicted of any crimes. That means you need a good Las Vegas bail bonds service that can help you make sense of the whole bail process so that you will know exactly what to do. Here are some clarifications of bail concepts and processes you should know about.
What is Bail?
When you’re arrested in Nevada, you probably will be sent to jail. But you don’t have to stay in that jail if you post bail. “Bail” here means the money you need to get yourself or a person you care about out of jail after they’ve been arrested.
Your right to post bail is mentioned in the 8th Amendment of the Constitution. This gives you the right to return to your family and to work while you go through the whole trial process. The Constitution further stresses that “Excessive bail shall not be required”.
How is the Bail Amount Set?
There are 2 basic ways to set the bail amount in Nevada. One is at an arraignment hearing, with the prosecutor and the defendant’s lawyer proposing their arguments for the bail amount they wish to get. The judge then sets the bail amount by factoring in the severity of the crime and the flight risk of the defendant.
The other way is with bail schedules. These are the lists of charges with a corresponding bail amount for each type of crime. This can make things go easier and faster and it keeps arraignment hearings from clogging the courts.
What is a Bail Bond?
The bail bond is the legal contract signed by the defendant, the cosigner, and the bail agent. It sets the amount as well as the rights and responsibilities of each participant in the contract.
The defendant promises to abide by all the requirements in the contract. These include appearing to all court-mandated hearings and classes, and complying with rules such as not contacting alleged victims of the crime.
The cosigner promises to help make sure that the defendant will appear to all their hearings. They also promise to notify the bail agent if they think that the defendant is planning to flee. The cosigner also promises to pay the full amount of the bail should the defendant fail to full their duties outlined in the bail bond contract.
Writing the bail bond is the task of the bail agent, who has the necessary training and licensed sure that the bail bond contains all the necessary details. The bail agent also agrees to cover the full amount of the bail if the defendant flees or fails to appear in court. The bail bond does offer the bail agent certain rights that make it easier for them to apprehend the defendant who tries to flee.
How Much Does the Bail Bond Cost?
In Nevada, the cost of the bail bond is fixed by state law at 15% of the bail amount. This is non-refundable, and it is not subject to any form of negotiation. A bail bond service cannot charge more for the bail bond, but it cannot offer discounts either.
However, some bail bond companies may offer extra services for extra fees. It is crucial that the cosigner and the defendant read through the bail bond contract carefully to understand what the fees will be and what they’re for. Any total fee that exceeds the 15% amount should be avoided.
What Happens if the Cosigner or the Defendant Cannot Afford the 15% Premium for the Bail Bond?
This is actually a common occurrence, as not everyone has the means to cover 15% of what can be a very large bail amount. In many cases, this inability to cover the premium can mean that the defendant will have to remain in jail during the course of the trial.
However, a good bail bond service will examine all options for payment. Some of these services may offer more convenient payment options for qualified clients. The service may take stock of the clients’ possessions and find ways to have these items cover the payment so that the defendant can get out of jail and rejoin their family.
How Long is the Bail Bonds Process?
The entire process can take a while. However, it can go smoothly enough that in some cases the whole process can be done during the arrest process when the defendant goes through the system.
The bail bonds application will have to be filled out, and that can take half an hour to a full hour. But it may take longer for a property bail bond when a piece of property is used as collateral for the bond. The property will then have to be verified and assessed properly.
Once the bail bond has been written and the signatories have all affixed their signatures, the bail agent then posts the defendant’s bail at the court or at the jail. The release of the process begins with the jailers notified of the posted bail.
This release stage can last for just 2 hours, if the jail is small and fully staffed and it’s a regular working day. But some circumstances may lead to a longer process. The jail may be full of new cases and they’re short-staffed. It may be a holiday weekend. In these cases, the release may take as long 12 hours.
With the release of the defendant, the bail bondsman will discuss the whole situation with both the cosigner and the defendant, reminding them of their rights and responsibilities. The bail bondsman will also notify the defendant and the cosigner about the court date.
Is a Bail Bond Service Always Necessary?
No, not when cash bonds can be used for the case. A cash bond involves a comparatively smaller amount of bail, which the defendant or a family member can pay directly in cash to the jail. When that’s done, the defendant will then be released.
The process still requires the defendant to promise that they will attend all the scheduled court hearings and obey all court orders, such as not contacting and staying away from alleged victims or attending anger-management classes. Once the trial has been concluded, the bail amount will be returned to the person who posted the bail. However, there may be some deductions from the money for fees, court costs, and in some cases restitution.
How Does the Defendant Know the Court Date?
There are several ways for the defendant to know this. If they were arraigned in court, the court will give the defendant the court date before the defendant is dismissed. If the bail process involved a bail schedule, then the clerk of courts who accepted the bail bond will notify the defendant about their upcoming court date.
If a bail agent is involved, then this bail agent will also inform the defendant about the court date. Finally, if for some reason the defendant still forgets, they may call the court handling the case. The court date information will be freely available.
What Happens If the Defendant Misses a Court Hearing?
Sometimes a defendant may have to miss a court hearing due to unforeseen circumstances. If you know you are about to miss or have missed a court hearing due to an acceptable reason like getting involved in a car crash, you should immediately call your bond agent and the court to let them know of your situation. In general, if there are reasonable circumstances for your absence the court will reset the court date without penalizing you.
However, if you miss a court hearing for no good reason and you don’t call the court or the bond agent, you will be considered a fugitive. The court will issue a bench warrant for your arrest while the bail bond is revoked and forfeited. The cosigner will then have to answer for the whole amount.
Law enforcement officers will seek you out and arrest you, while the bond service may also hire bounty hunters to retrieve you back to jail.
Is an Attorney Required during the Bail Process?
An attorney can be very helpful during an arrest, as they are tasked to defend your rights. That’s why a public defender can take your case if you cannot afford to hire an attorney on your own. For many serious crimes that may involve a prison sentence or a hefty fine, a lawyer’s assistance can prove invaluable.
On the other hand, for very minor offenses a lawyer isn’t strictly necessary. You may just end up paying a small fine and get out of jail very quickly. You should still get a lawyer to defend you during the case, but they aren’t absolutely required for the bail bond process for very minor crimes.
Can a Bail Bond Service Help Defendants Find an Attorney?
Bail agents are not supposed to offer any sort of legal advice or recommend an attorney. So you’re on your own finding one, though you can still use the court-appointed public defender for your case.
If you do get an attorney, you should notify your bail bonds agent about your lawyer. The bail agent and your lawyer need to be in regular contact with each other, and this demonstrates your willingness to resolving your case quickly. The bail agent can tell your lawyer about any changes regarding your case, while your lawyer can contact the agent if you are hospitalized and cannot attend any court hearings for the meantime.
How Discreet is a Bail Bond Service?
This will depend on the bail bond service you work with, though a good one can be very discreet. An experienced bond agent knows how rumors and innuendo can damage the reputation of a defendant and their family, and they will keep all of their client’s information completely confidential.
A good Las Vegas bail bonds service works for the best interests of their clients, and that’s why they really need to keep everything professional and discreet. The service must understand that this business of getting arrested is no one else’s business. They are there to protect the defendant from having their reputation ruined, just as they also work hard to get the defendant out of jail as quickly as possible. The point of the service is to help the entire family during this stressful time.