What if I Can’t Pay My Bail?


Did you know that every night, approximately 450,000 Americans who are presumed innocent are stuck in cold jail cells? Why? Because they can’t afford to pay their bail. Thousands of people in Murfreesboro, TN, are subjected to a two-tiered judicial system that punishes the poor more harshly than those with money to pay bail.

But what happens if you can’t pay your bail? There are different options to try to get your bail reduced or find other solutions that allow you to go home while your criminal case is pending. Contact a Murfreesboro criminal defense lawyer for assistance right away.

What is Bail?

Before exploring your options when you can’t pay your bail, it is important to understand the concept of bail. Bail is a court agreement between you, the court, and the prosecutor. You agree to post a specific sum of money in exchange for your freedom with an assurance that you will show up in court whenever necessary. If you fail to appear in court as scheduled, the court will issue a warrant of arrest, and you will lose your bail money.

So, what factors determine bail in Murfreesboro? According to Tennessee law, you can receive bail based on the following:

  • Your reputation, character, and mental state
  • Your family relationships, relationship with your community, and residency
  • Whether your release will threaten community members
  • Your current financial status, employment status, and employment history
  • Your criminal record and whether you failed to appear in court in previous cases
  • If trusted community members are willing to testify to your reliability
  • The potential risk of fleeing after receiving the bail

The Eighth Amendment to the United States Constitution gives you the right against excessive bail, and judges should follow strict guidelines when setting bail on a case-by-case basis.

Your Options When You Can’t Afford Bail

So, what options do you have when you can’t pay your bail?

  • Ask your friends and family members if they can contribute or fundraise the money for you.
  • Contact a bail bondsman to help. This often costs a small percentage of the overall bail for the bondsmen to act as your surety.
  • Request a bail hearing for the judge to reconsider the amount of bail ordered.

As soon as you are arrested, you want to reach out to an experienced criminal defense lawyer. Your lawyer can review your bail and determine whether to request a bail hearing. There, they will present arguments to the judge in favor of reduced bail or even no bail at all. They can do this by showing your ties to the community, willingness to participate in the criminal system, and other factors that indicate you are not a flight risk.

Seek Help from Our Murfreesboro Criminal Defense Attorneys Immediately

The criminal defense team at Dotson & Taylor helps with every aspect of your criminal case, including excessive bail that you cannot afford. If you have been arrested, do not wait to contact us online or call 615-890-1982 so we can start protecting your rights.

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