The Role Of Bail And Bail Bonds In A Pennsylvania DUI
Once you’ve been stopped on suspicion of DUI and the police officer who made the stop determines that there is probable cause to arrest and charge you with DUI, you can either be held at the local jail until you pay a bail bondsman, or you can be released on your own recognizance (ROR).
Obviously, the trauma of being arrested for DUI is a whole lot less damaging if you can leave the police station without having to spend even a few hours in jail. So, under what circumstances might you be lucky enough to qualify for being released on your own recognizance without having to pay bail?
Released on Own Recognizance (ROR)
This scenario is likely to happen for only a first time DUI. Repeat DUI offenders will have a smaller chance of qualifying to be released without bail. This also applies to any past criminal history you may have. If you have a clean record, you’re much more likely to be released. Otherwise, even an old charge can disqualify you.
The seriousness of the DUI plays a role as well. You’re far more likely to obtain a favorable bail if your DUI isn’t an aggravated one; due to other factors, such as having minors in the car, being involved in an accident, fleeing from the police, etc. If you are released on your own recognizance, you will not be ordered to pay any bail and you will be issued a summons to appear in court for a preliminary hearing (days or weeks in the future).
Bail Bondsmen and Their Role in DUI
If you elect to be released by bail bond, a bail bonds agency will pay the bond in exchange for securing the money they are “lending you.” A bail bonds agency takes on a tremendous risk when paying for a bail bond. They are putting money out to pay the bond and will lose the entire amount or most of it if you do not appear in court. As such, the bail bonds company has an obligation to make sure you show up for your scheduled court appearances.
So how do bail bondsmen ensure you’ll pay them back on their bond money? They can secure their money against items you own, such as:
- Putting a lien on a property you, your family, or a friend owns;
- Putting a lien against a vehicle owned;
- A charge on a credit card.
How The Bail Bond Gets Released
If you show up for all your court dates and comply with the court’s wishes, they will refund the bail money. However, the agency will normally collect 10% of the bond in cash for posting the bond. Make sure that you fully understand the conditions under which you can regain your collateral if pledged. You may have end up losing a house, a car, a friendship, or become estranged from your family if you don’t ensure the bond is released.