Bail is the posting of cash or property to release an arrested person from custody and to ensure they appear at their court date. For example, if a person’s bail is set at $1000 dollars, they must post $1000 for them to be released. Bail is returned if a person makes all of their court appearances or if the judge agrees to return the bail prior to the end of the case. If a person has posted bail and fails to appear at court, the judge will likely keep the bail and it will be forfeited in addition to issuing a bench warrant. Two things to remember:
- If you post bail for someone else, you better make sure they make all of their court appearances or the judge will keep the bail.
- Bail is not a fine, nor is it a way of resolving a case. Bail is only to have a person released from custody. Posting of bail does not end the case nor does it mean that a person does not have to show up at future court dates.
Bond is similar to bail in the sense that it is a way to be released from custody. In order to get bonded out of custody, you must locate and contact a bond company. Bond companies charge a person a fee which is usually calculated by a percentage of the bail (typically 10%). For example, if a person’s bail is set at $1000 and you cannot afford to post the $1000, you can pay $100 to the bond company and they will post the full amount of $1000. You do not get the $100 back if you show up to all your court dates because that money went to the bondsman. If you miss a court date, the court will takes the bond companies’ $1000 and issue a bench warrant for your arrest. The only way for them to get it back is to find you and turn you in on the bench warrant. Oftentimes, in addition to a fee, bond companies require a person to sign over some form of collateral or have a cosigner in the event you miss a court date.
Bench warrants are issued when a person misses a court date. At the time the bench warrant is ordered by the judge, the judge will also set an amount of bail. Once a bench warrant is issued, you will not have any further court dates and will be unable to resolve a case until the bench warrant is cleared. Additionally, if you are bench warranted for a criminal traffic case, a stopper will be placed on your driver’s license and will only be cleared when the case is completely resolved.
For traffic violations, or decriminalized traffic offenses, if you miss a court date, the judge will likely enter default judgment against you. Default judgments are monetary fines and fees.
WHERE TO POST BAIL/BOND
Contact the facility where the arrested person is being held. i.e. if the person is at HPD, contact HPD. If a person is at Oahu Community Correctional Center (OCCC), contact them.
LINK TO BAILBOND COMPANIES
(We do not endorse or recommend any particular bailbond company)