How Long Do You Stay in Jail If You Can’t Make Bail?
When you’re accused of a crime, arrested, and taken to jail, you may have an opportunity to post bail and obtain a conditional, pretrial release. If you can make bail, you won’t have to sit in jail while you wait for your case to wrap up. Instead, you can live at home while adhering to your bond conditions as you await the court’s verdict.
But what happens if you can’t make bail? How long might you have to sit in jail? Read on to find out.
Serving Time Before the Court Reaches a Verdict
Although the law clearly states you’re innocent until proven guilty, you’ll go to jail when you’re accused of a crime. Even if your alleged offense doesn’t actually carry a jail sentence, you can still be incarcerated. If you can’t post bail, you’ll have to stay in jail even though you haven’t yet been convicted of a crime. This is called pretrial detention.
If you end up being convicted, the court will likely credit the time you served in pretrial detention toward the total length of your jail sentence. If your charges are dropped or the court determines you’re innocent, however, the time you served will be nothing but a waste of weeks or even months of your life.
Keep in mind that even if you end up being convicted of your alleged crime, the court may not actually sentence you to jail time depending on the type and severity of the offense. Instead, you might get sentenced to probation, house arrest, a mandatory treatment program, or community service. If that happens, you’ll have wasted days, weeks, or months of your life incarcerated.
How Much Jail Time Will You Serve If You Can’t Post Bail?
Unfortunately, that’s a question without a definitive answer. Although the law states that you’re entitled to a speedy trial, the word “speedy” is up for interpretation in the eyes of the court.
Certain cases — especially those that are straightforward and involve minor infractions — move rather quickly through the court system. If that’s the type of case you have, you might only spend a few weeks in jail if you can’t post bail.
Sometimes, however, cases take several months or even years to move through the court system. If you can’t make bail and that ends up happening to your case, you’ll be forced to stay in jail until your case closes.
Both innocent and guilty people who weren’t able to post bail have spent years in jail waiting for the court to reach a decision. And unfortunately, unless you can hire a good attorney, there’s nothing to do but wait.
Other Ways to Get Out: Reconsideration of Bail and Release on Own Recognizance
If your initial bail amount was more than you can afford, your attorney (even if they’re a public defender) may be able to convince the judge to reconsider and reduce your bail. If you get another bail hearing and your amount gets lowered, you may then be able to afford to post bail and obtain a pretrial release.
However, if you have a lengthy criminal history or are accused of a violent crime, there’s a pretty slim chance that the judge will reconsider your bail. If you don’t have any strong ties to the community (as in family or a local job) that might work against you too.
You may also be able to obtain a conditional, pretrial release on your own recognizance. However, the judge will determine whether you’re eligible for this type of release, and your success depends on several variables. The judge will consider the type and severity of your alleged crime, your criminal history, the risk that you’re a danger to yourself or others, and your ties to the community.
If you’re successful in persuading the judge to release you on your own recognizance, you won’t need to pay bail to get out of jail while you await the conclusion of your case.
Get a Bail Bond Fast in Arlington or Fort Worth
If you need to bail a loved one out of a Dallas or Tarrant County jail as quickly as possible, get in touch with our team at Just Bail Bonds. We specialize in quick release from all jails and have served thousands of individuals over the last 26 years. Our licensed bond agents are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for your convenience, and if you can’t stop by our office, we also offer mobile bond service.
To get started, call our Tarrant County bail bond office at 817-303-3400 or our Dallas County bail bond office at 214-495-1363. You can also contact us online with any questions or concerns, and we’ll get in touch promptly with additional information.