States without bail bonds

Currently, eight states do not have a bail bond system: Illinois, Kentucky, Maine, Massachusetts, Nebraska, Oregon, Washington D. C., and Wisconsin. Illinois not only bans bail bond agents, but attorneys and some state employees are not permitted to post bail for defendants either. Bail exists in Illinois, but it is paid directly to the clerk of the circuit court where the defendant is to be tried. Illinois’ law stipulates that a defendant must post at least 10% of the amount the judge decides upon to secure release. Kentucky was the first state to ban for-profit bail. To secure a defendant’s pretrial release for minor offenses, a friend or family member can post bond for the full amount. For more serious offenses involving larger amounts, Kentucky uses a system similar to the one Illinois uses, with bail paid directly to the court. Occasionally Kentucky uses property bonds, where one puts up in-state property worth twice the bond amount. In Maine, with exceptions for certain serious crimes, you pay nothing for pretrial release if you show up for your court dates and only pay bail if you miss court. Massachusettes uses Bail Commissioners who oversee defendants’ first hearings; a defendant who is releasable pays $40 to the court. Defendants may be released on their own recognizance. Defendants requiring bond must find a way to pay it in cash to be released. In Nebraska, a defendant may pay a non-refundable 10% of their bond amount to the court with the jail acting as the bail bondsman. Oregon’s system is similar to Nebraska’s, except that a defendant can get 85% of their payment back if all court appearances are made. Wisconsin allows a family member or friend to put up 10% of the full bail amount to the court which is forfeited to the court if the defendant does not appear in court.

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