An arrest in Ohio could mean sitting in jail until the court hears your case. However, the court may release some individuals under a bail agreement. Bail allows a person to remain free pending their court hearing on criminal charges.

How Does Bail Work in Ohio?

Bail is the amount of money you must pay to the court to secure your release from jail. Bail allows your release from jail until your criminal case settles.

For example, if the arrest is for a drug crime, you may be able to post bail and return home pending the outcome of your criminal charges. If you cannot post bail, you are required to stay in jail until the court resolves the criminal charges against you.

Many local jurisdictions in Ohio have bail schedules they use for misdemeanor crimes. Depending on the crime, a judge could determine that a defendant is not entitled to bail. When denied bail, you must remain in jail even though you have not been judged guilty of a crime.

Current Types of Bail Available in Ohio

There are currently three types of bail that may secure your release from jail.

Personal Recognizance Bond

A personal recognizance bond is more commonly known as a signature, personal, or PR bond. It is the least expensive type of bail a defendant may receive after being arrested. It is also the most desirable bond because there is nothing for a defendant to do but sign a form to be released from jail.

A personal bond is a document signed by a defendant in which the defendant promises to appear in court as required. PR bonds are generally limited to non-violent misdemeanor charges or low-level felony charges. You are more likely to receive a personal bond if you have no prior criminal record.

A personal bond could result in monetary judgment if you fail to appear in court. The judge sets an amount of the personal bond. If you fail to appear in court as ordered or violate any term of the personal bond, the court can place a judgment against you for the amount of the bond.

Cash or Surety Bond

The court may order a cash or surety bond for a defendant. With a cash bond, the defendant can pay the full amount of the bond to the court. The court refunds the cash bond less any administrative fees, fines, or court fees ordered by the judge.

If you cannot afford to pay the bond in full, you can hire a bail bond agent to post a surety bond with the court. A surety bond is an insurance policy that ensures you will appear in court. If you do not appear in court, the surety bond pays the court your full bail amount, and the bail bond agent expects reimbursement from you.

Typically, a bail bondsman charges 10 percent of the bail as a fee for posting bond on your behalf. You do not receive a refund of this amount when your case concludes, even if you are found innocent, or the court dismisses the criminal charges against you.

Standard Bail Bond

Some defendants are issued a standard bail bond. They are permitted to post an appearance bond equal to ten percent of the total bail set in their case. If the person does not appear in court as scheduled, the court issues an arrest warrant, and the bond amount is forfeited.

If the defendant is found innocent or the charges are dropped, the deposit is refunded in full. For all other dispositions, the court refunds the deposit less any administrative costs, court fees, and fines.

Additional Terms of Release

A judge may impose additional terms of release. For example, the judge may require you to have electronic monitoring while on bail. You could be subject to travel restrictions while on bail.

It is essential that you understand all terms of the bail agreement. If you violate any terms of the bail, you are returned to jail pending the resolution of your criminal case.

Potential Bail Reform in Ohio

The Ohio Supreme Court issued a report in July 2019 with recommendations for changes in the bail system in Ohio. In January 2020, the Ohio Supreme Court submitted proposed amendments to the Criminal Court Rules related to pre-trial release and detention.

Until lawmakers act, bail and bond procedures in Ohio continue to deny the release of many individuals who do not have the financial means to post bail. Posting bail can be very difficult for some individuals. Those individuals endure jail time because they are poor, not because they are guilty or because their crime justifies remaining in jail until trial.