Before arrested citizens can mount a criminal defense in Maryland courts, they may be entitled to bail. This is money paid to a court to guarantee that a person who is released from jail will appear at required proceedings.
A defendant may post their own bail, have someone over 18 post it for them, or use a bail bondsman. The person who posts bail accepts complete responsibility for assuring that the defendant appears in court. When a defendant does not appear, the court will issue an immediate arrest warrant and the bail will be forfeited.
Bail may be posted in three ways. First, bonds that are set at no more than $2,500 may be posted with a cash deposit of $25.00 or 10 percent, whichever is greater. The person posting this bond is liable for its full amount.
Cash bonds over $2,500 must be normally posted for the full amount of the bond. The defendant, an individual or private surety may post cash bail or bond when a court order only specifies posting by the defendant. The posted amount is refunded if the charges are disposed before trial or if the defendant appears for trial. Any posted cash will be forfeited and the bail’s full amount becomes due if the defendant does not show up at the criminal trial.
Property such as land or a home may be used if the net property is equal to the amount of bail. Net equity is calculated by deducting liens, mortgages or deeds of trust and rent capitalized at 6 percent from the property’s assessed value.
Defendants may also post intangible assets. These include bank letters of credit, bankbooks and certificates of deposit at 100 percent of stated value and stock certificates from the American or New York Stock exchanges at 75 percent of the present quotation on the exchanges.
Credit and debit cards may also be used. An independent company processes the charge which includes the bail amount and a service fee.
Finally, bail bondsmen are often utilized. They charge a nonrefundable fee for posting bail and may also demand collateral security or property to secure a defendant’s release. This security is returned after the disposition of charges.
Source: District Court of Maryland, “Criminal defendant/What happens when you are arrested for a crime?” accessed on June 11, 2017