How Long Do You Stay in Jail if You Can’t Make Bail?

When the unexpected happens, and you find yourself on the wrong side of the law, it’s natural to have questions. Your most urgent questions are likely “How do I make bail?” and “What happens if I can’t get someone to post my bond?” These are valid concerns. Bail is a financial assurance that you will appear on your court dates. If you can’t pay your bail or make arrangements to have someone post a bond for you, you will likely have to stay in jail until your case concludes, which could be months or even years from now.

Fortunately, understanding the bail process and your rights can help alleviate some stress. At the Law Office of Case J. Darwin, we’ve seen firsthand the challenges and emotions that come with an arrest. With a background as a former criminal prosecutor, attorney Case J. Darwin brings a unique perspective to criminal defense issues in Texas. Today, we’ll discuss bail in San Marcos criminal cases and what happens if you can’t pay.

How Does Bail Work in San Marcos Criminal Cases?

how long do you stay in jail if you can't make bail?

Being arrested and facing potential jail time is an alarming experience, especially when you don’t know the details of the legal process. Let’s break down what bail is and how it functions in San Marcos.

What Is Bail?

Bail is a specific amount of money that the court sets, and you must pay it to guarantee you will return for your scheduled court appearances after an arrest. Essentially, it serves as a promise: you pay a certain sum to get out of jail, but if you don’t show up in court as promised, you risk losing that money and may face further legal consequences.

How Do the Courts Determine Bail Amounts?

The amount the court sets for bail is not arbitrary. Judges consider various factors when determining the amount. These might include the seriousness of the charge, your prior criminal record (if any), your ties to the community, and whether you’re a potential flight risk. It’s essential to note that the goal isn’t to punish you but to ensure that you appear in court when required.

What if I Can’t Afford Bail?

You still have options if the set bail amount is too high for you or your loved ones to pay out of pocket. Here are some potential strategies for raising money if you can’t afford to pay your bail:

  • Friends and Family: One immediate source of financial assistance is people close to you. They might help cover the entire amount or chip in to reduce the financial burden.
  • Charitable Contributions: Certain organizations and community groups help those who can’t afford bail. While not every case might qualify, this option is worth exploring. Some people even use crowdfunding platforms like GoFundMe to seek assistance raising the bail amount.
  • Collateral: If you don’t have the cash to pay your bail, tangible assets can sometimes help. You can use property like your house or car as collateral. If you don’t appear in court, the courts may seize and/or sell these assets to cover the bail amount.
  • Bail Bondsman: Bail bondsmen are professionals who offer to pay the court the full bail amount in exchange for a fee, typically a percentage of the bail. They can help ensure your release. But remember, if you skip a court date, the bondsman has the right to locate and return you to custody.

What Happens if You Don’t Pay Your Bail

A stay in jail is something you want to avoid at all costs, even if you still have criminal charges hanging over your head. After all, waiting at home for your case to conclude is much more comfortable than a stay in a jail cell. That said, knowing what happens if you can’t pay your bail helps underscore the importance of “making bail” and getting released.

At the most basic level, you must remain in jail if you can’t pay your bail. You will stay there until the conclusion of court proceedings in your case.

This waiting period isn’t just a matter of days. It can extend to weeks or even months. If your case goes to trial, you’ll be in jail until court proceedings wrap up. Trials can be lengthy, and there might be pre-trial hearings or proceedings that also extend the timeline. The case’s complexity, the court’s schedule, the nature of your charges, and even the availability of witnesses can all influence how long you must stay in jail if you can’t pay your bail amount.

There is some good news, though: You can post bail anytime during your case. So, even if you can’t pay your bail upfront, you can still cut your jail stay short if you come up with the money later. Getting home after a few weeks or months in jail is still better than spending the entire length of your case there, and a capable attorney can help you find the resources to make bail.

How Our San Marcos Defense Attorney Can Help

After an arrest, you might find yourself lost in the intricate maze of the legal system. But with the right defense attorney, you have a guiding hand to help you find your way.

One of the immediate challenges post-arrest is the bail process. It’s not just about having the funds to pay your bail. It’s about understanding your options. Attorney Case J. Darwin can connect you to reputable bail bondsmen, streamlining that crucial first step. Beyond this, we can advocate on your behalf in court by presenting compelling arguments for reduced bail, emphasizing factors like your community ties or a clean record.

But our support doesn’t stop there. Our team can scrutinize the charges against you, pushing for reductions or even complete dismissals when discrepancies arise. Furthermore, having an experienced and dedicated advocate means you’re well-informed every step of the way.

Contact Our San Marcos Criminal Defense Lawyer Now

You should not be stuck in jail because you can’t afford bail. Enlisting the services of Case J. Darwin after an arrest ensures you’re equipped, informed, and ready to face what’s ahead. Call (512) 738-6146 now or complete our online contact form for a free case evaluation.


Image by Tom Blackout Licensed via Unsplash

top criminal attorneys in san antonio
San Marcos Criminal Defense Lawyers Association
Avvo logo
Expertise Award for Best Criminal Defense Lawyers in San Antonio 2020