In Ohio, if you are arrested and charged with a crime, you might be required to post bail. This is the process imposed by the court to allow you to leave jail while ensuring you return for future hearings in your case. Bail is collateral that a person accused of a crime gives to the court so that they can be released from jail until the criminal offense is resolved.

When arrested, you will be processed into the city or county jail, and usually held there until a judge sets your bail amount. For the first time, low-risk offenders charged with a misdemeanor, the bail schedule might be set by local jurisdictions. Whatever the charge, after your arrest, do not speak to the police until you have arranged to have an attorney present.

This allows you to post a bond almost immediately after you are arrested and processed. On more serious charges, you will have to wait to appear before the judge to have your bail set. The hearing where the bail amount is set is called an arraignment and usually takes place within three days of your arrest.

The Difference Between Bail and Bond

Bail can be set for more than an accused can pay in cash. If you cannot post the bail amount, you will either have to wait in jail until the resolution of your case or use a bail bond to secure your release. If you are bailed out, that means you or someone close to you was able to pay the amount stipulated by the court at your arraignment.

If you are bonded out, it means you used a bail bond service. A bail bondsman is a business where you are required to come up with ten percent of the full bond amount. For example, if bail is set at $5,000, you or a friend or family member would need to pay the bondsman $500 to secure your release. The bondsman would then pay the other $4,500, which they will get back once you have appeared for all hearings related to the case.

Most bail bond businesses will also require that you secure the rest of the bond with some material possession, especially for higher amounts. You may use your car, house, or other possessions that you own to secure the full bond amount. The bondsman would then pay the other $4,500, which they will get back once you have appeared for all hearings related to the case. The $500 you paid upfront is their fee for their service.

Types of Bonds Frequently Used in Ohio

At the time of your arraignment,  also known as a bail hearing, the court will establish the type of bond available in your case. In Ohio, there are three types of bonds usually seen in criminal cases.

Recognizance Bond

A recognizance bond is the easiest and least expensive bond available. Also known as a “personal bond” or a “signature” bond, it does not require that any money be paid to the court upfront. Instead, it is a written promise from the defendant to appear in court when scheduled.

These types of bonds are reserved for first-time offenders, facing misdemeanor or low-level felony charges, who are not considered flight risks. On a recognizance bond, should you fail to show up for hearings, or meet the conditions of your bond, the court can place a judgment against you for the entirety of the recognizance bond.

Standard Bail Bond

This type of bond is also known as an appearance bond, and requires the person facing charges to pay the court ten-percent of the set bond amount. Once the case is closed, ninety percent of the ten-percent is refunded. If you fail to appear at court, or otherwise violate the terms of your bail, a warrant for your arrest will be issued. You will also lose the ten-percent deposit on the bond.

If you are found not guilty or the charges against you are dismissed, you will receive 100% of your bond deposit back.

Cash/Surety Bond

The most common type of bail bond is a cash or surety bond. An individual can elect to pay the full amount of the bond to the court, known as a cash bond, or hire a bondsman to post a surety bond. The bondsman will charge the ten-percent mentioned above of the bond amount plus administrative fees, then issue an insurance policy to the court, guaranteeing the entire bond amount if the defendant fails to appear in court.

Whatever type of bond, courts often attach terms and conditions of bail. Common restrictions include limits on travel, electronic monitoring, prohibit you from contact with certain people, and prohibit you from visiting certain businesses.

It is essential that you understand, and follow, all the terms of your bond. A skilled criminal defense attorney can help reduce the amount of bail or argue for a recognizance bond at your initial hearing. Involving a criminal defense attorney immediately after your arrest is crucial to make sure your rights are protected.