How Does Bail in Georgia Work?
If you are charged with a crime in Georgia, you may be offered the opportunity for bail. Bail is the amount of money one must pay in order to stay out of jail while awaiting trial. If you pay bail, you are guaranteeing your appearance at any court hearings. If you do not show up, the court not only keeps your money, but also issues a warrant for your arrest.
While ‘bail’ refers to the monetary security deposit made to stay out of jail, ‘bond’ is the term used when a bondsman or bonding company vow to pay bail on a person’s behalf, should they not attend their court hearings.
Bail Amounts & Conditions
In Georgia, the amount of bail a person is required to pay is set solely at the judge’s discretion. When determining bail, the judge will consider a variety of factors. This can include the severity of the crime, the defendant’s reputation or likelihood of re-committing the crime, or whether the defendant would even be able to pay. Additionally, not all defendants or crimes are eligible for bail, such as if the defendant committed a crime while on probation.
There are also bail schedules, which are bail amounts that have been pre-approved for certain crimes. In the instance of receiving bail on a bail schedule, you would not need to appear in front of a judge.
Once bail is posted, the defendant must comply with certain conditions of release. These conditions can be specific to the crime committed, such as ensuring the defendant does not contact a witness, or more general conditions like abiding by all laws.
To secure a defendant’s release from jail, there are primarily four different types of bail bonds used by the court:
- Own Recognizance – Instead of having to pay a specified amount, the defendant can sign a form which guarantees that he or she will show up for court.
- Cash Bond – The defendant can pay the entire bail amount in cash.
- Property Bond – Instead of paying outright, the defendant can offer a deed or tax statement to property they own. This type of bond is considered high risk, and is not recommended.
- Professional Bondsman – If a defendant cannot afford to post bail, he or she can hire a bondsman for assistance. If the defendant does not appear in court, the bondsman will pay the bail in exchange for a fee (typically 10-15% of the total bail amount).
If you have been charged with a crime and want to know more about how bail works, call Wadkins & Wadkins at (706) 221-9451.