How Does Bail Work in Virginia?

Bail in Virginia: The Three TypesIf you have been charged with a crime, the police will take you to the police station to be booked. One of your biggest initial concerns is getting out of jail as soon as possible. In Virginia, in most cases, there is a statutory presumption that a person accused of a crime should be released from jail pending his trial unless certain exceptions apply. For example, bail is not generally allowed when a person is charged with murder, rape, kidnapping, and certain drug crimes. That means that there is a good chance that a bond will be set in your case, and you may be released from jail relatively soon after being arrested.

Three Types of Bail in Virginia

While some people may think that bail and bond mean the same thing, they do not in Virginia. Bail is the pre-trial release of an accused person upon certain terms and conditions set by a judge or magistrate. Bond is the actual posting of or promise to pay a certain amount of money determined by a judge or magistrate to ensure that the person complies with the terms of his bail.

Once a person is booked and locked up in jail, he will have a hearing to determine whether bail should be granted that is usually heard in front of a magistrate. The magistrate will review the charges against the person, his criminal record, family and community ties to the community, and history of attending court hearings. There are three types of bonds that could be set in Virginia:

  • Personal recognizance. With a personal recognizance bond, the accused person signs a written promise to attend all court hearings, and no monetary amount has to be paid. Personal recognizance bonds are used with less serious offenses.
  • Unsecured bond. An unsecured bond allows a person to be released from jail on the promise to attend court hearings such as a personal recognizance bond. However, the person must agree to pay a certain amount set by the magistrate if he misses any court hearings.
  • Secured bond. A secured bond requires a person to pay a certain amount of money to be released from jail. If the person attends all court hearings, the money will be returned to him. Often, when the judge requires a secured bond, the person or his family will arrange to pay the bond for the accused with a Virginia bail bondsman for a fee—between 10 and 15 percent of the bond. For example, if the secured bond is set at $10,000 and the fee is 10 percent, the bail bondsman would pay the bond to the court once his fee of $1,000 is paid.

If you have been arrested and are in jail, you need to retain an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible to help you get a low bond set and to start building your defense. Call our office today to schedule your free consultation.