Knowing Your Rights on Cinco de Mayo

alcoholDespite the origin of Cinco de Mayo and its traditions, the holiday in America is commonly associated with an opportunity to drink a lot of margaritas or cerveza. That being said, any Harrisburg bail bondsman will know that those who drink excessively on Cinco de Mayo are more likely to have a run-in with the law. If you plan on celebrating the holiday and consuming alcohol, it’s important to know your rights.

  • It is your right to deny a Breathalyzer test, but doing so may result in your driver’s license being suspended for six months.
  • It is also your right to deny an officer’s request to search your property or home. Keep in mind that if you do allow a search on your premises, officers can use any evidence during the search against you in court (even if there was no warrant).
  • The police do not have the right to use excessive force or search/arrest you without probable cause.
  • If an officer does attempt to put you in handcuffs, do not resist – even if you feel the arrest is unwarranted. Resisting arrest will, in turn, give the police a valid reason to arrest you.

As Americans, the 4th Amendment protects us from the unlawful search and seizure of our private residences without a warrant. However, if police officers can see a felony being committed, they have the legal right to act. The general rule is simple: Don’t break the law. This includes purchasing alcohol for those under 21, using a fake ID to purchase alcohol, or driving under the influence.

What if I Have the Funds to Pay My Own Bail?

signing checkIf you’ve recently been arrested, you’re likely hoping to get out of jail quickly and privately. However. being able to pay your own bail will depend on several factors. If you don’t qualify, you will be required to have a cosigner pay the bail. Keep reading to know which situation to likely expect.

The court will likely only permit you to post your own bail if you’ve committed your first-time offense. It’s also pertinent that you have a good credit score, stable employment, and a stable living situation.

On the other hand, multiple offenses, insufficient credit and unemployment are all conditions that will call for a cosigner.

If you do qualify to post your own bail, ask to be released on your own recognizance at your first court hearing. This way, you will just need to provide a statement that you will appear in court as requested. Otherwise, try asking for a lower bail.

If you don’t qualify to pay your own bail, you will be required to summon someone who knows you and would qualify. Your best option is to be honest and contact your local bail bondsman. At Liberty Bail Bonds, an agent is always available to help you with Delaware County bail bonds and more.

Recognizing a Fake Bail Bondsman

Harrisburg bail bondsmanHaving a loved one in jail typically causes a lot of stress and worry throughout a family. Family members may be understandably embarrassed, worried, and anxious about the situation, and this combination may leave them vulnerable to bail bond scams and fraud. Here are some ways to identify some costly and illegal tricks and traps while seeking a bail bond agent in PA.

You Receive a Cold Call
It is illegal to cold call potential bail bond clients in an effort to solicit business. However, fake bail agents are known to obtain booking information online and track loved ones via the Internet so they can offer their services. In the bail industry, a client must contact a bail agent first. If you receive a cold call from someone claiming to be a bail agent, hang up the phone and do your research for a reputable bail agent.

They Charge Very Little
Irreputable bail agents may attempt to offer you a rate that is much lower than the 10% bail bond premium required by law in most states. While we all jump at the chance to save money, a Harrisburg bail bondsman offering a cheap rate is likely either being deceptive in their advertising or blatantly breaking the law.

Common Reasons for Being Denied Bail

Lancaster county bail bondsThe experience of getting arrested and ending up in jail be even worse if you find that you’ve been denied bail. There are multiple reasons why bail can be denied entirely.

On Probation or Parole
If the accused is currently on probation or parole for a previous offense, the most recent crime will likely be considered a violation.

Threat to Self or Others
Suspects that are considered unstable cannot be released with the help of Lancaster County bail bonds, as they may hurt themselves or others. However, in certain situations, the court may release the suspect to a treatment facility instead of jail while a trail is prepared.

Flight Risk
If someone displays erratic behavior and it is believed they may leave the city, state, or even the country, they could be denied bail. When a judge sees a history of running from the law, they will typically play it safe by keeping the accused in jail.

Severe Crime Involvement
Felony charges such as murder are subject to denied bail. Suspects of such felonies must be held in custody until they’re released according to a jury’s guilty or innocent decision.

Not a U.S. Citizen
Certain immigration laws require people to remain in custody if they are not U.S. citizens. In addition to being denied bail, the suspect may also be deported back to their home country.

Should You Bail Your Son or Daughter From Jail?

Pennsylvania bail bond companyFew parents are prepared to receive a late-night call from their child asking for bail bond money. However, those who must face this situation are left with what could be a difficult question: “Should I bail my son or daughter out of jail?”

Unfortunately, there is no right or wrong answer. Leaving your son or daughter in jail does not constitute you as a bad parent, nor does bailing them out; there can be understandable reasons for either decision.

If your child has a history of using drugs or engaging in violence, jail may actually be a safer place for your teen for the time being. You may also wish to live up to a stern promise you’ve previously made to your teen: “If you wind up in jail, be prepared to spend the night.” After all, a night in jail is a lesson most young adults won’t forget.

However, keep in mind that the promised night in jail could become days if your son or daughter is not bailed out promptly. Also, facing an arrest and the legal process is likely enough to teach your child a lesson. They are still faced with the embarrassment of the arrest, loss of their personal freedom, and the experience of explaining him/herself to the court system.

Should you choose to bail your child out of jail, a Pennsylvania bail bond company will pay the bail, ensuring that your son or daughter is released as quickly as possible.

What is Bail Collateral?

Harrisburg bail bondsmanBail collateral can be offered in place of bail money in order to secure the release of someone who has been arrested. Should the defendant fail to appear in court, collateral acts as a guarantee that there are funds available to pay for the bail. Collateral can come in many forms, such as a home, vehicle or other valuable assets.

If the defendant chooses to offer a large property item as collateral, the court or bail bond agent will have place the deed in their trust until the case is resolved. The collateral is then returned whether the defendant is found innocent, given a sentence, the charges are dropped, or if bail is exonerated. However, if the accused should fail to appear in court, the property will be seized by the court or the bail bond company as it will be considered to be forfeited.

Generally, collateral on bail bonds is generally at the discretion of the bail bondsman. The higher the bail, the more likely collateral will be required. If you find yourself seeking help from a Harrisburg bail bondsman, be sure to clarify these details before signing any paperwork. Ask the bail bond company if they require collateral, and if so, what types of collateral will need to be posted in order to secure the bond.

What to Know Before Turning Yourself In

Erie County bail bondsIf there’s a warrant out for your arrest, the idea of turning yourself in is probably frightening. However, it’s important to face your legal matters as soon as possible in order to avoid additional probation or jail time. Before turning yourself in to the authorities, here are some things to know.

What a Lawyer Can Do
When you are in trouble with the law, it is generally a good idea to have legal representation. A lawyer can assist you through the legal process, give you advice, and inform you of your rights. They will also work to protect your rights while taking the steps to start mitigation, as well as provide insight on how to prepare for court.

County Jail Isn’t Scary
The jail commonly seen in movies and television is not an accurate depiction of what a typical local county jail is like. The jail you would be turning yourself into is essentially a set of holding cells at a police station. As long as you prepare properly and behave appropriately, you shouldn’t fear.

Getting a Bail Bond
Before turning yourself in, contact a bail bondsman in the same county as the jail. If your arrest warrant is in Erie County, you will need to request for an Erie County bail bond and turn yourself in at the Erie County jail.
If your bond amount is unreasonably high, your lawyer may be able to get it reduced through a bond reduction hearing. Your lawyer can then present information to the court to argue why the bond amount should be lowered.

Things to Know Before Cosigning for a Bail Bond

Harrisburg bail bondsmanWhile you may truly want to take part in helping your loved one stay out of jail, it’s important to know that cosigning on a bail bond comes with certain responsibilities – and if they aren’t met, you could find yourself in some trouble.

Not everyone can cosign for a bond
You must be a citizen of the United States and have lived in the same area for a predetermined period, have stable employment, and sufficient credit.

You are accepting financial responsibility
Cosigning for a bond means you are also responsible for payments. If the defendant misses a payment, the responsibility for payment becomes yours. If the accused goes missing, the bond will go into forfeiture, and the financial penalty will again fall to you. If property was pledged to the bail bond company for collateral, it must be surrendered.

The defendant must attend all court dates
By missing even one appearance in court, the bond may be defaulted and a bench warrant may be issued for the defendant. As an Indemnitor, it is your responsibility to ensure the defendant attends all court dates and remains out of trouble in the meantime.

Ultimately, it is up to each individual to decide whether or not they feel comfortable co-signing a bail bond. While a Harrisburg bail bondsman can help get someone out of jail, there are risks involved for the Indemnitor. Knowing all of the facts regarding bail bonds is crucial before accepting this responsibility.

Bail Bond Facts You Won’t Learn from TV

Lackawanna County bail bondsAs you likely know, films and television series often exclude certain factors for the sake of simplicity or keeping to time restraints. This includes when a bail bondsman shows up to rescue the characters from a night in the slammer. Despite its common placement in fictional stories, there a lot of things which screenwriters do not tend to mention about the criminal justice system, including the bail process. However, these facts are important for people in real life who may find themselves in jail and in need of Lackawanna County bail bonds.

Bail bonds aren’t always simple
There are a lot of rules involved with bail bonds. The accused cannot leave the state, carry a firearm, and may be required to avoid certain places.

Bail bonds can be modified or reconsidered
When someone is denied bail (which rarely happens on television), the accused person may request reconsideration. Alternatively, someone who is granted bail may request revisions or modifications.

Bail bond agents can go after the accused
If an accused person attempts to flee the state, it is the bail bondsman’s job to ensure that they are retrieved in order to appear in their trial. This is because bail bondsmen could face dire consequences should the accused attempt to evade their trial.

The Bail Stage of a Criminal Case

Bucks county bail bondsIf you have been arrested, you are at the beginning of what may be a long journey through the criminal justice system. While the process may vary, most criminal cases follow these steps involving bail.

Determining the Amount of Bail
If you have been arrested and booked into jail, the first thing you’ll want to find out is how much bail money will be needed in order to get you out. Sometimes, people that have been placed in jail for misdemeanors can post bail and be released in just a matter of hours.

When a Judge Sets Bail
For crimes that are more serious, a judge or magistrate may have to determine the bail amount. In this case, you will likely have to remain in jail until the next court date that is available. Bail is set in an amount that is necessary to guarantee that you will return to court at your appointed time.

Purchasing a Bail Bond
If you do not have the funds available to post bail, you can purchase a Bucks County bail bond to solve this issue. A bail bondsman will post your bail for you in exchange for a fee.

Being Released on Own Recognizance
If you are released on Own Recognizance (OR), you do not pay bail at all; you simply sign a statement promising to return to court on your assigned date. However, being released on OR is not available to everyone.

Failure to Appear
If you fail to show up for court, a warrant will be issued for your arrest. If you posted your bail, that money will also be confiscated and never returned.