Movies and television shows often fall into the same patterns when highlighting a variety of jail processes. The information and assumptions people make from fictional programming often sets unrealistic expectations for the reality of a situation.
When movies create scenes with bail and bail bonds processes, the point isn’t to misinform the viewer but to help move the story forward and create compelling drama. Understanding the real-life circumstances will help people get a better grasp on various expectations when posting bail.
Learn fact from fiction with a breakdown of four different movie myths about posting bail.
1. The Judge Always Sets Bail
In many movies, you will witness a dramatic court scene where the judge sets a huge bail amount and everyone in the courtroom has a shocked reaction. However, things aren’t exactly like that in real life.
During a bail hearing, the sole decision is usually not up to the judge. The judge will typically follow set guidelines and standards based on the crime committed. In some cases, the crime itself will determine the bail, but many judges go by a set algorithm for crimes.
For example, the bail may be based on the crime itself, the criminal history of the arrested party, and the age of the person arrested. Also, movies tend to be dramatic when the bail amounts are stated. In various movies and TV shows, you may hear amounts in the millions.
Well, the average bail for most crimes is in the hundreds or thousands. Anything in the millions would involve very major crimes and is not a common bail amount. Smaller misdemeanor crimes may be in the low hundreds depending on the actual crime.
The bail hearing itself is not a big spectacle either, unless it is a major crime or news coverage is involved. Many inmates have the option to attend a bail hearing alone and choose not to have lawyers at this point in the process.
2. The Bail Is Denied
Another dramatic twist in the movies? Characters who get denied bail and are forced to spend time behind bars before a court case takes place. Once again, someone getting denied bail is another rare circumstance.
If bail was denied, a precedent often exists of a person skipping bail before or other factors that make a person a flight risk. Smaller crimes are usually not a factor, and you will rarely get denied bail if the bail hearing is for your first arrest.
3. You Only Get One Phone Call
To help heighten the drama of being in jail, many characters feel isolated with a cinematic policy known as the one phone call situation. Turns out, you can actually make as many phone calls as needed, but the person on the other end of the line must pay the collect call charges to keep the communication lines open.
Once you’ve been arrested, you do not have to make a decision to talk to either a bail bonds company or your loved ones. You have the option to make multiple calls. When you get into contact with a bail bonds company, they will accept your collect call and discuss your bail bond needs over the phone.
So, once you are arrested, you have no need to worry about the single phone call to make. A loved one may even purchase minutes for your calls so the other party does not need to accept charges with every call.
4. The Bail Means Absolute Freedom
In a lot of movies, when a person has posted bail, they seem to live their life freely like they just beat all the charges they once had. The drama of the courtroom has now transitioned into a whole other story thread.
The freedom that comes with posting bail is not the same in real life. In real life, you have multiple court hearings to attend, and you must show up for them every time. The bail may get you out of jail, but that does not mean you will not get sentenced once the full case makes its way through the court system.
When you post bail through a bail bond service, you may also have a co-signer on your bail bond. The person who co-signs the bail bond is responsible for your actions and ensuring you do not skip out on the bail.
Often, collateral is associated with a bail bond agreement, including anything from houses to cars. A bail bonds company has the ability to supply you with all the information you need to ensure your bail does not forfeit and you follow proper procedures to get through the whole court process.
In short, do not believe everything you see in movies and on television. The process is very different from the fictionalized films, which often focus on the drama and conflict rather than true procedure.
For more information on posting bail, contact us at Lets Bail Bonds. We have years of experience and can answer any questions you may have about the whole process.