I hope you never get arrested, but if you do, knowing about the bail system in Mississippi will help you. This is going to be a brief introduction to the bail rules in Mississippi. If you have more detailed questions don’t hesitate to ask. If you get arrested you are generally going to be allowed bail. There are circumstance where you could be denied release from jail. If you have committed a capital offense punishable by life or the death penalty you will probably not get bail. If you are out on bail and commit another crime, you should not be given another bail, though I have seen many situations where the Judge sets bail. Finally, if you are a threat to someone and there are not any conditions that would protect that other person, you could be denied bail. There are a few more circumstances but the purpose of this article is to discuss the typed of bail.
Once you are in jail you have the option to post a Corporate Surety Bond. This type of bond is posted through a bail bondsman. The person in jail pays 10% of the face amount of the bail and the bail bondsman put up a bond guaranteed by the insurance company. If your bail is $10,000.00 then you must pay the bondsman 10% or $1,000.00. When it is time to go to Court if you do not show up the bonding company can be required to pay the $10,000.00. A court order will be issued for your arrest and both the Sheriff and the bonding company will be looking to arrest you. People who live out of state are required to pay 15% of the face amount of the bail. So if you bail is $10,000.00, and you are from our of state, you must pay $1,500.00.
Many times the bail bonding company wants security or protection to make sure you appear in Court. They may ask a family member to sign on the bond form guaranteeing to pay if you do not appear in Court. The bond company may also require you to call in to their office every week. This is just their way of making sure you stay around and show up for Court. The bonding company has the right to get off your bond and surrender you back to the Sheriff if they don’t feel secure about your appearance in Court, so it is the better practice to cooperate with your bond company. Failure to appear in Court could also lead to a contempt of Court and another charge, so if you bail out of jail keep in touch with your attorney and your bail bondsman.
If you are arrested you may be allowed to post a cash bond or a First Offender’s Bond. A cash bond is a bond that you post in Municipal Court or Justice Court for the full amount of the bail. For example, if you are arrested for a misdemeanor and your bail is $600.00, you could post the full amount and be released. If you are convicted of the misdemeanor you could allow your cash bond to go toward paying your fine. But if you are charged with a felony in Circuit Court you may be allowed to post a First Offender’s Bond. This bond, if approved by the Court, allows you to post 10% of the face amount with the Circuit Clerk. When the case is over you get almost all of the money back except for a very small processing fee. Many counties do not allow first offender bonds so this option is not always available.
Finally, a Property Bond is another form that may be available. A Property Bond requires that the person arrested put up a piece of real property that has a value more than the bond. An example may illustrate this point. If a person has a $100,000.00 bail, then they are going to need a piece of property that is worth more than $100,000.00, after deduction for a mortgage. So if you have a piece of property worth $200,000.00 with a $150,000.00 mortgage, your equity is only $50,000.00 and you could not use a Property Bond.
The purpose of bail and a bond is to make sure the person arrested appears in Court to answer the charge filed against them. Bail is not supposed to be a form of punishment. However, I have practiced for over 29 years. On far to many occasions I have seen very unreasonable bail amounts set. I have no doubt that bail is often set high because the person arrested did not cooperate with the police or made the police made. Remember, bail is to guarantee your appearance in Court-period.
Merrida Coxwell is an attorney who has practiced for over 29 years. He has extensive experience in criminal cases of every type and serious injury cases. The Coxwell & Associates website has many of the high profile cases handle by Mr. Coxwell, including the Mayor of Jackson’s criminal case, a Judge’s criminal case, and many others.
Disclaimer: This blog is intended as general information purposes only, and is not a substitute for legal advice. Anyone with a legal problem should consult a lawyer immediately.