After an arrest in Colorado, you can post bail to get out of jail as a way to ensure you will appear for your court hearing. The amount of bail may depend on several factors.
You may be able to request to have your bail reduced or eliminated through a bail hearing. If you cannot raise enough money for bail, you may be able to pay a percentage of the bail through a bail bond company.
In this article, our Denver Colorado criminal defense lawyers will address:
- 1. What is bail?
- 2. How is bail different than bond?
- 3. How much is bail?
- 4. What is a bail hearing?
- 5. How do I bail someone out of jail in Colorado?
- 6. If I bail someone out of jail, will I get the money back?
Posting bail is the court process to get released from jail (at least temporarily) after you have been arrested. Bail is a security interest, usually through posting a sum of money or a title to a property, to ensure you will return to your later court appearance.
After posting bail, if you fail to show up to your court date:
- a bench warrant may be issued for your arrest, and
- money or property posted for bail could go into default.
Bail and bond are often used interchangeably. However, bail is generally referred to the money posted by you or your family to be released from jail. Bond usually involves using a bail bond company. In exchange for a fee, usually 10% to 15% of the bail amount, and collateral, the bail bondsman guarantees the amount of bail if you do not appear in court.
In Colorado, a “bail” is a security, which may include a bond, required by a court for your release set to provide reasonable assurance of public safety and court appearance.”1
“Bond” means a bail bond, which is an undertaking, with or without sureties or security, entered into by you to bind you to comply with the conditions of the undertaking and, in default of compliance, to pay the amount of bail or another sum in the bond.2
The amount of bail set for you in Colorado depends on a number of factors. The amount of bail and conditions of bail should be sufficient to reasonably ensure your appearance as required and to protect the safety of any person in the community.3
The court may use a bond schedule, which provides guidelines for the amount of bail for various criminal offenses. The bond set for you can be increased or lowered from the bond schedule amount. In some cases, you may not be granted bail at all, or you can be released without posting bail on your own recognizance (OR).
The court may consider the following criteria in making a determination of the bond amount:
- Your employment status and history;
- The nature and extent of your family relationships;
- Your past and present residences;
- Your character and reputation;
- Identity of persons who agree to assist you in attending court at the proper time;
- The likely sentencing, considering the nature and the offense presently charged;
- Your prior criminal record, if any, and any prior failures to appear for court;
- Any facts indicating the possibility of violations of the law if you are released without certain conditions of release;
- Any facts indicating that you are likely to intimidate or harass possible witnesses; and
- Any other facts tending to indicate that you have strong ties to the community and are not likely to flee the jurisdiction.4
A bail hearing is a court process that gives you or your lawyer the opportunity to:
- request a reduction in your bail or
- request release without bail (“personal recognizance”).
Otherwise, the judge may set default bail at the bond schedule amount.
(Being released on “personal recognizance” means a bond secured only by the personal obligation of the person giving the bond.5)
You may be able to post bail by bringing the amount of bail to the appropriate court. Depending on the court, you may have to pay the bail amount by:
- cashier’s check,
- money order, or
- credit card.
If you do not have enough money to pay for the entire bond amount, you may be able to secure release for the defendant by contacting a bail bonds company.
The bail bonds company will charge a fee, usually 10% to 15% of the bond amount and may require a security interest in a vehicle or property. The bail bonds company will arrange for the release of the defendant.
If you bail someone out of jail, whether you get your money back depends on:
- how you secured bail and
- if the defendant shows up to court.
If you posted bail directly to the court through cash bail, property bond, or security bond, if the defendant complies with their bond conditions, you will generally get your money back after the defendant’s court case. The court may take any outstanding fines and costs from the bail and return the remaining amount.
If you bail someone out of jail and they do not make their court appearances, your bond money will be forfeited and a warrant will be issued for the defendant’s arrest.
If you use a bail bonds company, you will not get your 10% to 15% fee returned. The premium is the cost of using a bail bonds company. However, if the defendant does not show up to court, you may also forfeit your collateral given to the bail bonds company. This could include a title to your:
- boat, or
- other valuables such as jewelry.
- C.R.S. 16-1-104(3)
- C.R.S. 16-1-104(5)
- C.R.S. 16-4-103(3)(a)
- C.R.S. 16-4-103(5)
- C.R.S. 16-4-104(13)