Being arrested can be scary and disorienting. Fortunately, the American system of justice allows individuals accused of a crime to be released on bail while they await their day in court. It’s an important component of our legal system and one that, while not perfect, has nonetheless worked well since the days of the Founding Fathers. At Tayler Made Bail Bonds, we work with all types of people from all walks of life. But regardless of their background and circumstances, there is one question we hear more than just about any other: “How should I act while I am out on bail?” It’s a really good question and we’ll address it below.
No one is perfect - including us. So we’re not here to point fingers or preach about living a virtuous life. The advice we’re about to provide below is gleaned from years of experience working with countless individuals and seeing what works and what doesn’t for individuals out on bail. That said, here are some suggestions about how to act if you want to ensure that your bail experience is a productive one.
In the vast majority of cases a person has been released on bail because someone else thought enough of them to sign for the bond. By doing so they risked losing money and perhaps property if you were to flee instead of show up to face the charges against you. Don’t betray the person who bought your freedom. If you flee they are the ones that will suffer the consequences.
Even if you don’t flee but otherwise violate the terms of your release and your bail gets revoked, it is that person who will pay the price. They may have their car seized by the state. They may even be forced to sell their home to satisfy the now-revoked bond. You don’t have to suddenly become a saint but, for the sake of the person who bailed you out, try and act as though you appreciate what they did for you.
It doesn’t matter if you spend the rest of the time you are out on bail playing video games and making the rounds of all the pizza joints in Jefferson County, Arapahoe County, or Denver County as long as you show up in court at the appointed time to face the charges against you. There are no “buts” when it comes to this. It’s the cornerstone of a successful bail experience.
The court doesn’t want to hear that you forgot. They don’t want to hear that you were ill. They don’t want to hear that you were tired from working so hard. They want and expect you to show up at the appointed time and date. The only excuses are things like being in a coma or being held hostage, but even then the burden of proof will be on you. You may have to appear in court numerous times during your bail. Make sure you do.
If you move while out on bail, tell your bonding agent. Ditto if you are in an accident, get sick, change your appearance, get a tattoo, buy a car, get engaged or married, or file for divorce. The bondsman is in your corner and can be a powerful ally. But you have to respect the relationship and understand that he or she can’t help you if you keep them in the dark about your movements or other things that are going on with you. Communicate.
It’s crucial that while you are out on bail you don’t make bad decisions. Therefore, if there is any question about whether an action you are contemplating might jeopardize your situation, don’t do it. No one is asking you to be a saint. But you must recognize that being free on bond is not the same as being free. There are limits on what you can do and they need to be respected. So no drugs, no drunken bar fights, no leaving the state if you’re forbidden from doing so, and no approaching someone you’ve been ordered to stay away from.
You’re out on bail and that’s certainly less than an ideal situation. But it doesn’t have to be the beginning of the end. Everyone makes mistakes. The most important thing is how we react to those mistakes and whether we’re able to learn from them. Regardless of what your plans were before you were arrested the goal now should be damage control and acting in a way that allows you to right the ship and get on with your life.
If you don’t violate the terms of your release, make all your court dates, and mount a successful defense your bail money will be returned and you’ll have a chance to start fresh. Even if you are convicted the court, when sentencing, will often take into account how you behaved when you were out on bail. Good behavior often results in a lesser sentence. If, on the other hand, you’ve acted like the spawn of Satan while out on bail the court is likely to come down on you hard, throwing your entire future into jeopardy.
If you or a loved one needs help securing a bond call Tayler Made Bail Bonding at (303) 623-0399 today.