Posting a Criminal Bond or Bail in Oklahoma
When an individual is arrested in Oklahoma on what the Oklahoma criminal courts call a “bailable offense,” bail is set. The Oklahoma Constitution provides that with limited exceptions, “all persons shall be bailable by sufficient sureties…” Okla. Const. art. II 8; Creech v. State, 500 P.2d 861 (Okla. Crim. App. 1073). This guarantee is well rooted in American jurisprudence setting out that all persons accused of a crime and facing criminal prosecution in Oklahoma are presumed to be innocent until proven guilty in an Oklahoma court of competent jurisdiction. The leading Oklahoma criminal law case dealing with the topic of bond is Brill v. Gurich, 965 P2d 404 (Okla. Crim. App. 1998).
Posting How is the Bail Amount Determined
A common question for criminal defense attorneys in Tulsa and elsewhere is: What guidelines are used by the criminal courts in to determine the amount of bail?
The answer to this question is that there is no specific predetermined amount for the various bailable criminal offenses. However, the Oklahoma Constitution does state that bail shall not be excessive. Moreover, the Oklahoma Criminal Courts have ruled that the purpose of bail in Oklahoma is to guarantee that the criminally accused in Oklahoma will be available to answer for the accused crime and and that bail cannot be used as a punishment against the accused. Therefore, the primary consideration used by the Oklahoma courts when setting bail is how much bail will it take to ensure that the defendant appears for court as promised.
Two Methods of Bailing out of Jail
A criminal defendant in Oklahoma, or a friend or family member on the defendant’s behalf can simply post the cash bail at the jail. This dollar amount would be 100% of the bail amount set by the court for the the defendant and the criminal counts and against him or her. If the court set bail at $5,000.00, then $5000.00 cash must be posted. When the defendant has fulfilled all of his or her her obligations to the specific Oklahoma criminal court by appearing on the charged matter and resolving the criminal accusations against him or her, the person who paid the bail will be refunded the entirety cash bail paid.
Bail Bond (Bail Bondsman)
If neither the Oklahoma criminal defendant nor any family members or friends have the financial means to pay the entire bail in cash, they can hire a professional, licensed Oklahoma bail bondsman and arrange for the defendant’s bond to be posted. To post an bail bond through a professional bail bondsman in Oklahoma, a person typically needs two things: (1) Premium and (2) Collateral.
The premium is usually 10% of the set bail. So a bail bondsman would normally require a $500.00 premium fee on a $5,000.00 bail. The premium is considered earned by the Oklahoma bondsman once the defendant is released from jail on the bond. In return for the premium fee, the bondman puts up his or her own cash or assets to make the court’s bail, in order to secure the defendant’s release. Because the bail bondsman’s own cash or assets are at risk if the defendant fails to appear for court, the bail bondsman requires collateral in addition to the premium.
The collateral is something for the bail bonds man to hold until the defendant has finished all required appearances with the court and the cash or assets posted by the bail bondsman are released back to him or her. At this time, the collateral provided is retuned, less any fees owed to the bail bonds man. Collateral generally consists of one of four things: (1) cash, (2) vehicles, (3) homes, or in some cases (4) the signature of a financially answerable person who provides a guarantee to the bondman.
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