How much is bail?

There is no fixed bail schedule in federal court. Under the Bail Reform Act, 18 USC § 3141 et seq, the magistrate releases a defendant on conditions sufficient to ensure a defendant's continued appearance. Therefore, release conditions, including bail, can vary dramatically depending on the seriousness of the charges, the defendant's history, and the defendant's financial circumstances.

Bail bondsmen are rarely used in federal court. The defender assigned to a defendant's case can give his/her family a better feel for the conditions of release that will be required. In every case, however, the more family and community support for the defendant the more likely release will be granted.

How do family or friends post property for bail?

In most cases, federal pretrial release can be satisfied with a mixture of assets; principally cash, real property (such as homes), and cars. The defender will be glad to meet with family and friends of the defendant to discuss different options for meeting the bond amount.

The defender can help with the paperwork to transfer a house for bail. At a minimum, posting a house for bail usually requires a recent appraisal, a copy of all title and mortgage documents, and a deed made out to the clerk of the Middle District. Family and friends can help speed up the process by bringing all documents relating to a home – mortgage documents, title reports, and deed records – to the defender for his or her review.