Every state deals with arrests differently and Alabama is no exception. While some states may opt for a points-based system where bail is automatically calculated based on charges or previous convictions, Alabama focuses on bond hearings where judges set bonds based on a number of different factors. Here are some of the basic things to know about bail bonds in Alabama.
You can only be held for 48 hours
If you have been detained, law enforcement must by law either release you if no charges have officially been placed or have you go in front of a judge for a probable cause hearing to see if charges should be filed. If you ha have been arrested then police have 48 hours from the time that you arrive in jail to be seen by a judge for a bond hearing.
Personal recognizance can be an option
Personal recognizance is when a defendant is able to be released from jail while awaiting their hearing but without having to pay a bond. Instead, the defendant signs a contract promising to return to any and all hearings in exchange for release. Personal recognizance is sometimes automatically granted for lesser infractions or first-time minor offenses but in Alabama, it is up to the judge. If the judge sees a reason why personal recognizance is not appropriate then they have the right to forgo it and opt for a traditional bond system, even if the charges are minor.
The state of Alabama determines what bail bond agencies can charge
As is the case with most states, a bail bond agency cannot simply choose its own rates. The state actually determines what percentage is allowable. In Alabama, an agency cannot go over or under 10 to 15% This means that if an agency advertises very low rates or on the flip side, an agency charges astronomical percentages like 30%, they are operating outside the law and should be avoided at all costs. These percentages are known as bail bond premiums and it is considered a nonrefundable service fee for using the services of a bail bondsman.
Bond is not always guaranteed
While it is rare, there are instances in which a judge may opt to deny bail to a defendant. This typically only happens in the most extreme case in which a judge may feel that the defendant or the general population may not be safe if the defendant is released. This includes charges such as murder or terrorism. A judge may also deny bail id they feel that there is a high chance that the defendant will not show back up to court. They could feel this way if there was any evidence that the defendant may have been trying to flee prior to arrest or if they have such vast resources that the price of a bond is not a reasonable deterrent to staying in town. In these cases, the judge may simply opt to raise the bond limit but they may feel the need to deny the bond in cases where no amount could be considered a deterrent.
To sum up, the laws in Alabama are made to help create a fair and balanced way to ensure that citizens are not detained for unreasonable amounts of time and that there are options to pay bonds in a way where they are not exploited. If you are looking for a fair and ethical bail bonds agency in the Mobile area, we are happy to help!