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 Colorado criminal defense lawyers will address:
- 1. What is bail?
- 2. How is bail different than bond?
- 3. How much does it cost to bail someone out of jail?
- 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 temporarily release an individual after they have been arrested. Bail is a security interest, usually through posting a sum of money or a title to a property, to ensure the defendant will return to their later court appearance. After posting bail, if the defendant fails to show up to their court date, a bench warrant may be issued for their 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 the individual or their 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 the defendant does not appear in court.
In Colorado, a “bail” is a security, which may include a bond, required by a court for the release of a person in custody 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 a person in custody to bind him or her 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 a defendant in Colorado depends on a number of factors. The amount of bail and conditions of bail should be sufficient to reasonably ensure the appearance of the defendant as required and to protect the safety of any person in the community. This includes taking into consideration the individual characteristics of each person and their financial condition.3
The court may use a bond schedule, which provides guidelines for the amount of bail of various criminal offenses. The bond set for any given defendant can be increased or lowered from the bond schedule amount. Some criminal defendants may not be granted bail, others can be released without posting bail on their own recognizance (OR).
The court may consider the following criteria in making a determination of the bond amount:
- The employment status and history of the person in custody;
- The nature and extent of family relationships of the person in custody;
- Past and present residences of the person in custody;
- The character and reputation of the person in custody;
- Identity of persons who agree to assist the person in custody in attending court at the proper time;
- The likely sentencing, considering the nature and the offense presently charged;
- The prior criminal record, if any, of the person in custody and any prior failures to appear for court;
- Any facts indicating the possibility of violations of the law if the person in custody is released without certain conditions of release;
- Any facts indicating that the defendant is likely to intimidate or harass possible witnesses; and
- Any other facts tending to indicate that the person in custody has strong ties to the community and is not likely to flee the jurisdiction.4
A bail hearing is a court process that gives you the opportunity to request a reduction in your bail or request release without bail. Without your lawyer to argue on your behalf at a bail hearing, the judge may set default bail at the bond schedule amount.
However, your attorney can argue for a reduction in your bail, or for your release on your own recognizance. Being released on “personal recognizance” means a bond secured only by the personal obligation of the person giving the bond.5
If you have a friend or family member who has been arrested in Colorado, you may want to secure their release as soon as possible. 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 cash, cashier's check, or money order. Some courts also provide for posting bail by 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.
Your Colorado criminal defense attorney can represent you during your initial hearing. They may also be able to reduce your bail amount or seek a release on your own recognizance.
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 car, home, boat, or other valuables such as jewelry.
Call us for help...
If you have been arrested for any criminal offense in Colorado, please contact us at Colorado Legal Defense Group.
- 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)