When you are charged with a felony charge, you will be arrested and sent for a bail hearing. A bail hearing is a chance for you to learn the conditions that must occur in order for you to get out of jail until your trial date or until your case is finished. In most cases, there are three options that might be presented at a bail hearing -- denial of bail, a release on your own recognizance or a bail amount set.
If you are denied bail, which can occur if you have violent charges like capital murder or are considered a flight risk, you will remain in jail for the duration of your case. If you are granted a release on your own recognizance, you will be allowed to leave jail without having to put up any money. You must attend all the court dates for your case or you will have a warrant issued for your arrest.
If the judge presiding over your bail hearing sets a bail for you, it is necessary to put up money or assets that are equal to the bail amount. Once you put up the financial security, you will be released from jail. You must show up for all your court dates or you will lose the financial security you put up for your release. Additionally, a warrant will be issued for your arrest. If you pay bail, it will be returned to you when you show up to all court hearings and your case ends.
There are some cases in which a defendant isn't able to afford the entire bail amount. In that case, using a bail bondsman might be the answer to getting out of jail. A bail bondsman charges a non-refundable fee to get you out of jail. The bondsman then notifies the authorities that he will be responsible for the full bail if you don't show up for court.
If you are able to get out of jail while your case is pending, you will have free reign to work on your defense. Building your defense as early as possible can often help you with your defense strategy.
Source: FindLaw, "Bail & Bonds," accessed Nov. 11, 2015