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What does it mean to make bail in Georgia?

On Behalf of | May 6, 2024 | Criminal Defense |

Making bail provides an opportunity for eligible individuals accused of a crime to remain free from jail while awaiting trial. In Georgia, as in other states, the bail process allows accused persons to secure their release by pledging payment as a guarantee that they will appear at all required court dates. Understanding the specifics of how bail works in Georgia can help individuals and their families navigate the process more effectively.

The court sets the amount of bail during a bail hearing, taking into consideration the severity of the alleged crime, whether the defendant is likely to flee and the overall threat to the community posed by the defendant’s release. Bail serves as a way to better ensure that the defendant appears at court without the need to remain in custody.

Types of bail in Georgia

Georgia offers several options for posting bail:

  • Cash bail: The amount in full is paid in cash. This amount is returned (minus any administrative fees) once the defendant complies with all court requirements.
  • Property bond: The defendant or a cosigner can put up property (usually real estate) as collateral to secure release. Failure to appear in court can result in the property being seized.
  • Bail bond: This involves a bail bond agent who, for a fee (typically about 10% of the bail amount), agrees to pay the full amount if the defendant fails to appear in court. This fee is non-refundable.
  • Release on Own Recognizance (ROR): In cases where the judge believes the defendant poses minimal risk, they may be released without any financial requirement. This decision is generally based on the defendant’s ties to the community, employment status, family responsibilities and past criminal record.

Making bail allows the accused to remain free, providing the ability to work, continue living at home and maintain family responsibilities. With that said, being released on bail often comes with conditions. They might include travel restrictions, no-contact orders, regular check-ins with a bail officer or substance abuse counseling requirements. Violating these conditions can result in immediate arrest and the forfeiture of the bail bond at issue.