If a judge or justice convicts you of a crime, it's important to know that you may still have options that can help you avoid a prison sentence. In many states, a judge will now consider an application for post-conviction bail, which, if successful, will normally result in a bail bond. Learn more about the benefits of a post-conviction bail bond, and find out what this option could mean for you if a court convicts you of a crime.

How post-conviction bail bonds work

If a court finds you guilty of a crime, you may face a fine that you simply cannot afford to pay in one instalment. In more serious cases, you may even face a prison sentence. At one time, you would have had no option but to find the money for the fine or go to jail, but some jurisdictions now appreciate that this isn't always the best outcome. As such, post-conviction bail bonds now exist in many states.

With a post-conviction bail bond, you agree to pay a certain amount of money to the court. To get the cash back, you must then complete certain conditions. These conditions could include rehabilitation, working with your local probation officer and/or paying off the fine in instalments. Provided you meet these requirements, the court will return the bail bond and no further legal action will take place.

In some jurisdictions, post-conviction bail bonds are also available to inmates serving a prison sentence. In these cases, you can buy a bond, which you effectively exchange for early release. If you meet the conditions of your parole, you get the bond back, and you don't have to serve the rest of the prison sentence.

Why courts favor post-conviction bail bonds

American courts increasingly favor post-conviction bail bonds because they can help counter some of the challenges that exist within the prison system. For several decades, prison overcrowding has become a significant problem within the United States, particularly in states like California. In 2010, three federal judges in California issued a ruling that the authorities had to cut the prison population by 57,000 people.

To achieve aims like this, many courts now allow post-conviction bail bonds. The new system stops people going to prison and helps people who can't afford to pay large fines in one instalment. What's more, once you take out a bond, the bail agent becomes responsible for making sure you continue to meet the conditions of your bail, taking further strain off the state legal system.

Applying for a post-conviction bail bond

The rules about post-conviction bail bonds vary between states, but you will normally need to meet strict criteria. For example, in Maine, post-conviction bail is not available for certain convictions, which include:

  • Murder
  • An offense where a judge declined pre-conviction bail
  • An offense where a judge revoked your pre-conviction bail

Similarly, you will also have to prove to a judge that you do not pose a flight risk. You must also provide sufficient evidence to prove that you don't pose a risk to public safety. Your lawyer can help you understand how you can meet these requirements.

Meeting the terms of your post-conviction bail bond

Of course, if a court grants your request for post-conviction bail, you must meet the requirements laid down. If you fall behind with payment instalments, your bail agent could revoke the bond, which means you could find yourself back in court – and ultimately back in jail. You may need to consider the steps you must take to keep up on payments. You may need to take out another loan or sell property to raise the money, but as long as you make the bond payments, you won't get into trouble.

That aside, one of the benefits of the system is that your bail agent can also help you meet your bail requirements. For example, if you genuinely struggle to make the necessary payments, your bail agent can support an application to the judge to extend the terms of your bail. Realistically, if the bail agent can see that you are trying to pay off your fine, he or she can continue the bond for a longer period.

If a court convicts you of a crime and you cannot afford to pay a fine in one instalment, a post-conviction bail bond is an effective way to avoid a jail sentence. Talk to your attorney for more advice. You can also hop over to this web-site to learn more about bail bonds.