Understanding Travel Restrictions While on Bail

In North Carolina, on average, bail bonds get imposed in 67 percent of misdemeanor cases and 79 percent of felony cases statewide. So, chances are, if you’ve been arrested for a crime, you’re going to need a bail bond.

If this is your first involvement with the criminal legal system, it’s easy to get confused and overwhelmed by all of the rules and regulations that pertain to being released on bail.

The court can impose a wide variety of bail restrictions. However, many people find travel restrictions while on bail to be particularly inconvenient and complicated.

When out on bail, it is extremely important to follow the rules and obey any imposed restrictions. The slightest slip-up in behavior can have drastic consequences for a person on bail.

Keep reading to ensure you understand how to comply with travel restrictions while on bail.

What Does It Mean to Be Out on Bail?

Getting released on bail is not the same as getting acquitted of a crime. When you get released on bail, you don’t have the same freedoms as you did before getting arrested.

You are technically no longer in custody, but there are certain conditions you have to follow. For example, you will need to attend all hearings and trial dates related to your case to avoid the consequences of not showing up.

There are several different reasons people accused of criminal acts get released on bail before their trials. One is because the law of the country dictates that anyone accused of a crime is innocent until proven guilty.

When you get arrested for a crime, you have the right to receive what is called “fair and reasonable bail.” You get released on bail so you can resume your regular life, like taking care of your family and going to work.

Releasing people on bail also reduces the strain of incarceration (the average cost to imprison one person is $14,000 to $70,000 per year), on the criminal legal system.

Common Bail Restrictions

Bail restrictions are decided case-by-case. These restrictions can vary, but they are all conditions the person out on bail must meet in order to avoid legal consequences.

Obey All Laws

A person out on bail is expected to obey all laws. Getting arrested a second time while out on bail can have negative impacts on your trial and sentencing. It is especially important not to get arrested for the same crime.

Abstain From Drug and Alcohol Use

Restrictions against using drugs or alcohol are common in specific cases. For example, a person arrested on a drug-related charge should not be interacting with drugs in any way while out on bail.

Surrender of Weapons

In some cases, a person released on bail is required to surrender any weapons in their possession. This might happen in cases involving domestic violence, dangerous weapons felonies, and other types of felonies.

The best option in this situation is to give all of your weapons to a trusted relative or friend as soon as you get released. Reclaim them only after the outcome of your case gets decided.

Seek/Maintain Employment

It is very typical for a person out on bail to have a requirement that they maintain gainful employment. If you do not, or no longer, have a job after your release, you will need to get one.

No Contact

Sometimes the court will impose restrictions regarding with whom a person can and cannot interact. For example, it is typical that a person out on bail while accused of a crime cannot interact with others involved in crimes.

Travel Restrictions

The court imposes travel restrictions for a variety of reasons specific to individual circumstances. There are several different types of travel restrictions, such as out-of-state and international travel restrictions.

Terms Related to Travel Restrictions While on Bail

Travel restrictions depend significantly on the person and the crime committed. They are very much decided on a case-by-case basis. One person might be allowed to leave the state, but not the country. While another person might not be able to leave their own home.

Flight Risk

A flight risk is a person who is likely to flee in order to avoid going to court or prison. Perhaps the person has tried to flee before and was arrested on a warrant. Or maybe they have family abroad they might escape to.

A person who the court considers a flight risk is unlikely to be allowed to travel internationally. Typically the court will require such a person to surrender their passport.

Travel Within the City/State

In some cases, a person released on bail can travel within their state, but not outside of it. Others are only allowed to travel within the city in which they reside.

House Arrest

People who pose a significant flight risk, or another type of risk, may have their travel limited to their own homes. Being under house arrest often involves wearing a tracking device (ankle bracelet).

Some people on house arrest can leave to go to specific places at specific times (i.e. to go to work, counseling, or substance use treatment).

No Travel Restrictions

If a judge does not explicitly restrict a person from traveling, it is safe to assume traveling on bail is fine. You can take a vacation if you want to.

However, you will need to attend all of your court appearances. So be aware of all court dates when planning a trip.

How Do Travel Restrictions Get Determined?

A judge takes several things into account when determining any type of bail restriction. When determining travel restrictions while on bail, the judge will consider the following things:

  • Defendant’s reputation
  • Past criminal history
  • Whether the defendant is a flight risk
  • The severity of the crime committed
  • Defendant’s physical and mental state

A judge is more likely to treat a person with more leniency if they have a good reputation and no criminal history. However, if the person committed a violent crime and appears to be a flight risk, harsher restrictions may apply.

Consequences of Violating Bail Terms

If a person violates the terms of their bail, the court may revoke their bail and put out a warrant for their arrest.

In some cases, the judge may deny bail and the person will have to remain in custody until their trial. In others, the person may receive a higher bail amount and added restrictions.

More About Bail Bonds & Travel Restrictions

If you get arrested for a crime, it is of the utmost importance that you comply with any travel restrictions while on bail. Failing to follow the rules of your bail can have major consequences that make your legal situation worse.

In need of a North Carolina bail bond? Amistad Bail Bonds serves all 100 counties in the Tar Heel state. Contact us today to schedule your free consultation.

Bail Bonds in Raleigh, NC: What Happens If I Don’t Show Up in Court?

Approximately half a million people in the U.S. are currently being detained pretrial. Getting arrested and placed in custody can be such a scary experience. Luckily, you can walk out of jail after an arrest after posting bail bonds Raleigh NC.

But after getting out, life can get in the way and you may forget your next court date. Whatever the situation, failure to appear in court is a charge in itself and can land you in a lot of trouble.

Below are some of the consequences you may face if you’re a no-show in court after being released on bail.

Face New Charges

Apart from your existing charges, you may face new charges if you skip bail. You’ll be charged with failure to appear and courts take this seriously.

Get a Warrant

When the court calls your name during a court hearing and you aren’t present, they will issue a warrant. They may not do it right away but they will after the time passes and you still don’t show up.

End Up Back in Jail with No Bail Option

Receiving a warrant means that law enforcement officers will look for you and arrest —wherever you may be. When they find you, you’ll have to face jail time. Since you failed to follow one of the most requirements of bail, the courts will not offer bail again.

Owe Your Bail Bonds Company the Money

Sometimes you may not have enough money to post the entire bail with the court. A bail bondsman can act as a surety and provide your bail, promising that you will appear in court. When a bail bonds agency is involved in the deal, they will lose money when you skip bail.

In case this happens, the bail bonds company will charge you the full amount paid for your release. You will also lose the fee you paid them for their services.

Lose Your Bail Money

Paid your bail with your own funds? You should not expect to get it back after you skip bail. No matter how much you paid, the court will keep your money if you fail to appear in court.

If you attend all hearings and complete all other requirements, you will get the money you paid as bail back. However, the court will deduct expenses it charges you in the case.

Reschedule Court Dates

Sometimes you may miss your court appearance for understandable reasons like an illness. When this happens, the court may be lenient and reschedules the court date.

But there isn’t any guarantee of this. It’s why you should treat your case with utmost importance.

What Happens if You Paid Bail for a Person Who’s a No-Show in Court?

When you pay bail for someone, you assume the responsibility for ensuring that they appear in court. In case they fail to appear for their court hearings and are on the run, you can lose any money you paid as security. You may also have to pay the increased bail bond.

However, you can apply for the reinstatement of the bond if you succeed to track the person down in 90 days. When you do, you should report them to police and fill out the necessary paperwork.

They will arrest the person and notify the court. This ensures your claim of reinstatement is considered.

Generally, you should avoid paying bail for anyone you believe may not adhere to bail bond requirements.

How Can a Bail Bond Company Help Ensure a Court Appearance?

Posting bail bonds help ensure that you do not run after being set free on bail after an arrest. If bail bond agents provided your bail money, they can keep tabs on you and ensure you show up for court. Here are some of the ways they can help.

Tracking Court Dates

Your bail bond agency can help ensure you attend court by helping keep track of your court dates. They will have access to your court’s hearing calendar. This allows them to see the dates of your court appearances and they can remind you.

They will most likely reach out to you a day or two before the court hearing to notify you about your next court date and the time. It ensures you do not forget about your court hearing and show up.

Maintaining Regular Contact

The bail bondsman will try to maintain regular contact with you. Most bail bond agents will need you to show up in their offices. It may be once a week, every other week, or at least once a month.

They may also have other rules like requiring you to call them regularly or submit to a drug or alcohol testing. By maintaining regular contact with you, it may help increase your chances of showing up to court.

Threaten You with a Jail Term

If you do not follow the rules set by a bail bonds agency, like checking in, they may hang the prospects of going back to jail on your head. Since you post bail to stay out of jail, you won’t want them to follow through with their demands and revoke your bail. This will encourage you to follow their rules including showing up for a court appearance.

Remanding You into Custody

If the threats don’t work, the bail bond agent has the power to revoke your bond and place you in custody. Having this power is often enough incentive is enough to ensure you take showing up to court seriously and show up.

Bail Bonds Raleigh NC: Consult with Bail Bond Experts

Are you unable to come up with bail bonds Raleigh NC? Amistad Bail Bonds can help. We’re a leading bail bond provider in the Triangle area. Our agency provides residents in Raleigh with fast and considerate bail bond services.

Don’t worry if the judge sets expensive bond payments. We assist in all and any bond size. Our services are available 24 hours a day. Contact us to make an appointment.

8 Tips for Choosing a Bail Bond Company

Did you know that the bail bond industry is worth a staggering two billion dollars each year? This is due to the fact that since 1970 the number of people incarcerated has grown by 700 percent! In fact, 99 percent of the people that were incarcerated between 1999 and 2004 were people who have not been found guilty of a crime but were jailed because they couldn’t afford bail.

Do you find yourself in a tangle and are wondering how to choose a bail bond company that you can trust and won’t rip you off? Read on below for seven foolproof tips for choosing a bail bond company!

1) Why Do Bail Bonds Exist?

Bail bonds exist because as you know a person’s trial doesn’t start immediately after they are arrested. Investigators take time with their investigation as well as the defendant takes time to build their case.

This time could be months or even years. During this time it isn’t fair to keep the defendant locked in jail and they are free to carry one with their normal albeit with restrictions. Bail bonds are a loan for people who cant afford to post bail on their own.

2) Bail Amount

Most of the time it isn’t a good idea to release someone and secure a bail bondsman before the preliminary hearing or what they call arraignment hearing. This is because it is possible that the lawyer can persuade the judge to lower the bail amount and therefore you don’t need to borrow as much from the bail bond company.

When an amount is set by the judge, many times there will be a list of companies that you can get a bail bond from. Pretty much like the ones recommended by attorneys, these companies are always working with defendants and might not have your best interest at heart. Rather do your own research and have a list of companies set outside for a rainy day.

3) Cheaper Bonds

Many times you will hear that companies have cheap bond fees structures and you might be tempted. Like most things in life cheaper isn’t always the best option and there are reasons that it is cheaper.

It might be the company isn’t as experienced as other companies and won’t provide you with good service and advice. The reputation that they withhold might not be the best and it could also mean that they are deceptive and breaking laws. The best advice is to go with your gut and stay away from the cheapest options.

4) Attorney Referred Bail Bond Company

When a bail bond company works with a defense attorney they have to provide quality work and be on the right side of the law otherwise that attorney wouldn’t refer them to their clients.

If you do find yourself locked up, search for the companies that your attorney suggests, the fees will likely be lower, saving you money, and more often than not they can be trusted fully.

5) Expected Fees You Will Pay

When you use a bail bond company the norm is that you will be charged 15 percent by those workers who posted your bail. This will mean that you will have to pay a small fee upfront. 

Remember that there is no need to pay a small fortune right away and the person will be able to get you out of jail even if a small amount has been paid.

6) Getting To Know The Duty Officers

Duty officers work day in and night with incarcerated people who need to post bail but can’t afford it. Getting friendly with a duty officer might unlock a door or two that wouldn’t have been open otherwise.

They work with most of the companies so they would be familiar with the reputable, can even suggest a lower bail amount on your behalf, and help you in an awkward situation. It would be important to relax and not kick up a fuss as this will only make things harder and an already dire situation worse.

7) Review The Company 

Before even selecting a bail bond company, you should review that company online. Any reputable bail bond company will have an online presence and if they don’t then you know to stay clear of them. 

Going to a website like a cowboy bail bond that posts reviews for readers is a website you can trust. Every company might have one or two bad reviews but take ten minutes and read a few of them, this will give you a good indication of the service and fees that the company charge. On this website is the best reviews as they come from people stuck in the same situation as you, and can be trusted.

8) Use Of Agencies

When choosing a bail bond company, you might be tempted to consider hiring an agency. These companies will keep your file confidential and handle all the aspects of your case for you.

Using an agency will help in saving time and effort on your part as they do this daily and not the system backward. They will assist in posting bail with the minimum amount of time and trouble. They are usually available immediately while smaller two-man operations might not be able to reach you or your loved ones in time.

Get Free As Soon As Possible

Not everyone will find themselves in a situation where they need to look for a bail bond company while inside a cell. It is important that you know a little something about the system and what is the best possible way to get free quickly. Using this advice will not only save you valuable time but will also ensure that you are not ripped off and don’t enter into an unlawful agreement blindly.

Are you currently stuck in a sticky situation and need a company that you can trust with your bail bond? Not sure who to go to? Get in touch with us today and we will save you time and money when it comes to setting you free!

DUI or DWI: Which Is Worse?

You never thought it would happen to you until it does. You find yourself in handcuffs in the back of a police cruiser for a DUI or DWI. Driving under the influence (DUI) is one of the most frequent driving violations in North Carolina.

Impairment from alcohol contributes to 34% of all automobile fatalities in North Carolina. The state has experienced 485 alcohol-related fatalities in 2021. Drug use contributes to about 16% of car crashes.

When you find yourself in cuffs, you will likely be wondering about the difference between DUI and DWI. How do they determine which charge you receive? Learn everything you need to know about the law if this happens to you.

DUI or DWI—What’s the Difference?

When it comes to driving under the influence (DUI) and driving while impaired (DWI), the state of North Carolina makes no distinction between them. The state has a zero-tolerance policy for driving while impaired.

Prior to the enactment of the North Carolina Safe Roads Act of 1983 the state made a distinction between DWI vs DUI. Prior to that year, a DWI was a higher crime than a DUI.

The new law moved all alcohol and drug moving violations under the term of DWI. In any instance where a driver is driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, they will receive a criminal charge of driving while impaired.

Determination of DWI

The level of alcohol in your blood to result in DWI charges depends on your age. Anyone over the legal drinking age of 21 years with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08% or higher will be put under arrest for DWI. If you are under 21 years of age and are found driving with any amount of alcohol in your system, you will be arrested for DWI.

If you have a prior DUI/DWI charge and are pulled over, you will receive DWI charges for having 0.04% of alcohol or more in your blood. This is also the maximum level allowable for commercial drivers.

Other DWI Offenses

In addition to having alcohol or drugs in your bloodstream, there are other acts that can result in your being charged with a DWI. This includes having an open container containing alcohol in your vehicle or having an open or closed container of alcohol on the passenger seat of a commercial vehicle. You will also receive a DWI charge if you are found guilty of helping a minor to obtain alcohol.

Field Sobriety Test

If an officer pulls you over for speeding, weaving in traffic, or reckless driving they may require you to participate in a field sobriety test. This test checks your physical and mental abilities by having you do things such as:

  • Walk a straight line
  • Stand on one leg
  • Speak clearly
  • Touch your nose, and more

After determining there is reason to believe you are under the influence of any type of substance, the officer may ask you to take a chemical test.

DUI Versus DWI Penalties

It doesn’t matter whether you call it a DUI or a DWI, the penalties for these charges in North Carolina are severe. The state has a 7-year lookback period, meaning every DWI you receive within a 7-year period increases penalty severity.

There are five levels of misdemeanor DWI in North Carolina. Judges make a determination on what level each driver falls into depending on several mitigating factors. These include:

  • BAC level
  • Driving record
  • Level of visible impairment
  • Voluntary submission or participating in assessment and treatment
  • DWI contributing to an accident
  • Prior DWI offenses
  • Speeding
  • Driving on a suspended or revoked license

The more factors the driver meets under the judge’s evaluation, the more severe the level of the criminal charges the driver receives.

The lowest charge is a level V DWI. A conviction includes penalties of 24 hours to 60 days in jail or 24 hours in jail and 24 hours of community service. It also includes up to $200 in fines and driver’s license revocation for between 30-365 days. The judge may also order a substance abuse assessment.

The most severe offense is Level I DWI, which includes 30 days to two years in jail, up to $4,000 in fines, and permanent license revocation. You must also complete a substance abuse assessment.

If you have three or more DWI convictions within a seven-year period, you will be charged with a felony DWI. You will receive the label of habitual offender. You will serve a minimum of one year in jail and complete a substance abuse program during your incarceration.

Ignition Interlock

If you receive a conviction with a BAC of 0.15% or higher or have two DWI convictions within a seven-year period you will be required to have an ignition interlock device to drive. Installation of this device on your steering wheel requires you to take a breathalyzer test prior to being able to start your vehicle. You will also take periodic breath tests while driving.

Failure to “blow” immediately upon notification is a violation. Violations of interlock device requirements result in the immediate removal of your driving privileges.

Impact on Auto Insurance

In addition to jail time, fines, and having a criminal record, picking up a DWI charge will impact your insurance rates. This is because there is an increase in risk when you drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs. These risks cost the insurance company more in payment of claims by accident victims.

The average insurance increase in North Carolina following a DWI is $3,416. This is 68% higher than the average U.S. increase following a DUI.

The Bail Process

Within 48 hours of your arrest, a hearing will be held advising you of the criminal charges you face. During the hearing, the judge will determine the amount of bail necessary for your release from jail. The amount of bail depends on several factors including the seriousness of the crime and your prior criminal history.

Payment of your bail will depend on the judge’s specific orders. It may be by cash, secured bail bonds, unsecured bail bonds, or in some cases your own recognizance. When you do not have the funds to pay your bail in full, a bail bonds service will accept 15% of the total bond amount and front the remaining amount for you.

The bail bonds service pays the full amount of your bail directly to the court. Once paid you will be released from jail pending your appearance in court.

Because of the risk the bail bond service takes, an Indemnitor must sign agreeing to pay the full amount of your bail if you do not appear in court. This is because your failure to appear means the bail bond service must pay the full bail amount to the court.

Bail Bonds Sets You Free

When it comes to receiving a DUI or DWI, the initial result is the same. You are going to jail. When that happens make sure you have the name of an expert bail bondsman to help you obtain a quick release.

Amistad Bail Bonds is a team of professional bail bondsmen in Raleigh, North Carolina. We are available 24/7 at (800) 537-0645. We help your loved one by preparing all necessary paperwork to obtain your freedom pending trial.

To help make the process easy, we offer a variety of payment plans and free consultations. Don’t hesitate, call us today to find an agent near you.

How to Find the Right Bail Bond Service

North Carolina has the 21st lowest incarceration rate in the United States with 35,697 individuals currently in state prisons.

If you or your loved one are part of this statistic, the best way to get out of jail as soon as possible is to hire a bail bond service. Their job is to cover your bail amount and deal with the legal process on your behalf.

This service is necessary, but it’s offered by so many companies that choosing the right one can be difficult. You need to consider their cost, reputation, process, and more.

Read our bail bonds service guide to learn how to find the best local options for your needs.

Finding a Bail Bond Service

One of the best pieces of bail bonds service advice you’ll ever receive is to choose the right bondsman to help you through the process. They’ll ensure it’s done as quickly and seamlessly as possible.

Consider important factors such as whether they can cover the entire bail amount as well as their fees, bond options, areas and quality of service, reputation, credibility, licensure, process, and communication.

Bail Amount and Cost

The average bail bond is $10,000. Factors that affect the amount include you or your loved one’s record and the crime in question. Wait until this amount is set before reaching out to a bail bonds service and make sure that they can cover the entire amount.

After that, finding out how much a bail bonds service will charge you is one of the most important questions you can ask.

Find out what percentage of the bail amount they expect you to pay. This varies and can be covered either in cash or by using collateral. Ask about payment plans as well.

Low rates don’t always mean better service, so you should always ask for the exact rate. Most charge 10-15% of the bond amount.

If a bail bonds service expects a higher percentage, they’re overcharging you. If they go below it, they may not be reputable and are only offering lower fees in a desperate attempt to get your business.

Check if the charge is a one-time payment or an annual fee. Dishonest companies may try to conceal this, which is why you should always read your bail contract in full.

Bond Options

Types of bail bonds include cash, surety, property, and immigration. Make sure that the company you choose works with the type you need. 

Certain bail bond services specialize in specific types or amounts of bonds. They may only work with small or high numbers. Make sure that their limits aren’t too low or high for your bail amount.

Areas of Service

Bail bonds companies serve specific locations and may not be able to help in your area. Find one that serves your entire state to get you or your loved one’s bail posted as quickly as possible.

Licensure and Credibility

A reputable bail bonds service should be registered with the Better Business Bureau. They should also maintain a high score with the organization. Both serve as a symbol of their credibility.

Look for a bail bondsman who’s licensed to operate in your state and can provide proof of licensure. Check if their license has ever been restricted or suspended and why.

Out-of-state companies come with several drawbacks. They often charge extra fees and aren’t as familiar with the laws in your state.

Reputation

60% of customers trust reviews from family, friends, and other customers. They’re relied on when purchasing products but are an important tool for choosing a bail bonds service as well.

Look at the company’s online reviews, ratings, and online comments. Look for any complaints and check to see how they’ve handled cases similar to the one you or your loved one is facing. 

You can also ask your lawyer, local detention officer, or neighbors for bail bonds service tips and recommendations.

Process 

Getting released on bail is a complex process, which is one of the reasons that you need a bail bondsman to help you. They can handle most of the steps, but you still need to know how several parts of the process work.

Ask a bail bondsman to explain how they’ll pay bail and get you or your loved one released. Every case is different, but it’s a major red flag if they can’t give a general explanation of what to expect.

There is no definite timeline for how long it will take a bondsman to pay you or your loved one’s bail and get them out of jail. They can give you an estimate, but be wary if they try to give you an exact date.

Bail bondsmen have no control over when you or your loved one will be released from jail. If they try to say that they do, they may be trying to lure you into signing a contract as soon as possible.

Communication and Service

Contact the bail bonds service online or give them a call before you hire them. After that, pay attention to how they communicate with you and/or your loved one.

They should be able to communicate well and clearly explain all steps of the bail process. The more clarity they provide, the less stressful it will be for everyone involved.

They should also be able to ensure that you or your loved one shows up to every necessary court date to avoid serious fines and legal issues.

Bail terms can change at any time, which is why the best bail bond service offers 24/7 support. They should be willing and able to answer any questions or solve any problems you have whenever you need them.

Where to Find a Bail Bonds Service Near Me

Hiring a bail bond service is necessary when a judge sets a bail amount that you can’t afford. Before choosing one, ask them questions about their fees, reputation, process, service, and more.

Amistad Bail Bonds is a reputable, licensed bail bond service in North Carolina. Contact us today to see how we can help you or your loved one.