The Disadvantages of Cash in the Courtroom
The tourist industry of Las Vegas attracts a variety of clientele. From bachelor and bachelorette celebrations, to family vacations and romantic couple retreats, and even the occasional elopement, Las Vegas hosts a diverse landscape for a plethora of activities and events.
With that said, the city’s popularity and reputations stems from a misunderstanding of the laws. While less restrictive than other states, the Nevada police force works much the same. Due to the misguided reputation, many tourists find themselves in difficult legal situations.
For tourists and non-native Nevadan’s who are arrested in Las Vegas, it’s important to know your rights and options. Even after arrest, there are avenues of aid and people who will look out for your best interests. One of the first and most important steps following an arrest is knowing your options for posting bail in order to secure freedom.
Bail, Bonds, & Other
Begin by understanding the difference between the terms. This is especially important for defendants who are experiencing their first arrest. Many times the legal jargon surrounding freeing yourself from jail can be a complicated, as well as misunderstood.
The term “bail” refers to the monetary amount the defendant has to pay in order to be released from jail. A judge reviews the arrest details, as well as the defendant’s criminal history (if any), and will determine the bail amount. Once a defendant, friend, or family member pays bail, the defendant is free to leave the cell.
Yet, most criminal defendants can’t afford to pay bail outright and therefore must obtain a bond.
Bonds work much like a typical loan with an expedited process. When a defendant lacks the funds to post bail, they can turn to a bail bond company to provide the necessary amount. Obtaining a bond generally includes putting down collateral that can be collected if the defendant fails to pay back the bond. Collateral varies but can be as significant as the defendant’s house or smaller items such as jewelry and artwork.
Along with the bond, the defendant will be responsible for an additional administrative fee.
- Signature Bond
Another less frequently seen form of bond is the signature bond. A signature bond is when “the defendant makes a written promise to appear in court. If he fails to appear, he pays the court a set amount of money.” Signature bonds are rarely offered as an option and are “reserved for low-level offenders who pose no flight risk.”
If the defendant has the ability, the court will accept direct cash for bail. While this may seem the simpler option, there are major negative caveats to posting bail through personal cash deposit.
Disadvantages of Cash in the Courtroom
While paying bail via personal cash can oftentimes be a more cost-efficient option by avoiding the administrative fees associated with bonds companies, there are huge disadvantages.
- Court Room Persona
How a defendant is represented in the courtroom is an incredibly important and influencing factor in the court proceedings, as well as the sentencing. The courtroom persona is influence by various aspects including defendant timeliness, their respect for the court officials and officers, appearance, and their handling of the financial steps.
Posting bail through personal cash funds negatively impacts this persona by telling a tale of wealth.
If a defendant has access to large amounts of cash it can lead to increased fines and will also affect the ability to obtain a court appointed lawyer. As a result of increased fines and lawyer expenses, the defendant may find themselves unable to make payments.
- Flight Risk
When a persona around accessibility to cash is developed, the judge’s view of the defendant tends to change. This can incredibly detrimental, especially when it comes to posting the bail amount. If the defendant has access to large amounts of cash then they are representing an image of accessibility including the ability to afford leaving the state.
Cash equals more of a flight risk and therefore the judge may opt to pose a higher bail amount.
With that said, it’s important for defendants to be familiar with the U.S. Constitution’s Eighth Amendment, which protects citizens from excessive bail. While judges have the ability to increase bail based upon their perception of the defendants flight risk, there are regulations regarding how high they can go.
- Protection of Privacy
Las Vegas sees many first time offenders in their courtrooms; defendants who traveled to sin city for a good time and found themselves on the wrong side of the law. It’s common for these types of defendants to desire a high level of privacy in the proceedings.
One of the most important aspects of cash bail is that it is public information.
For defendants attempting to keep their situation private, the best option is posting bail via a bonds company. Per the U.S. Constitution, “the goal of bail should not be to provide extra funds for the government or punish a defendant.”
8-Ball Bail Bonds is a fully licensed and insured bail bonds agency located in Las Vegas, Nevada. They offer 24-7 service for clients in need of assistance in stressful and oftentimes overwhelming situations. By tailing services with each client’s individual needs, the highly knowledgeable and educated staff at 8-Ball Bail Bonds is able to provide exemplary and specialized customer service. In the high-traffic, tourism focused culture of Las Vegas, 8-Ball Bail Bonds offers a sense of community and protection, while also offering competitive services including charging the state minimum. For more information or to speak with a representative directly, feel free to contact us.