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Criminal Law Article





How to Post Bail for your Temporary Liberty


Getting out of Jail after an  arrest. What you need to know about bail -- what it is, how it's set  and how to pay it


Often, a person's first thought upon landing in jail is how to get out -- and fast. The usual way to do this to "post bail." Bail is cash or a cash equivalent that an arrested person gives to a court to ensure that he will appear in court when ordered to do so. If the accused doesn't show up, the court keeps the bail and issues a warrant for the arrest of the accused.


Bail can take any of the following forms:

  1. Cash or check for the full amount of the bail

  2. Property worth the full amount of the bail

  3. A surety bond (that is, a guaranteed payment of the full bail amount)

  4. A waiver of payment on the condition that the accused appear in court at the required time (commonly called "release on one's own recognizance").

How Bail is set?


Public Prosecutors are responsible for setting bail. Because many people want to get out of jail immediately (depending on when you are arrested, it can take a day or two before you the see a judge). The Department of Justice ( set standard bail schedules which specify bail amounts for all bailable crimes and offenses. An arrested person can get out of jail quickly by paying the amount set forth in the bail schedule.


Unless the charged is punishable by death or life imprisonment and the evidence of guilt is strong, the 1987 Constitution requires that every person charged for a crime or offense has the right to post bail which should not be excessive. This means that bail should not be used to raise money for the government or to punish a person for being suspected of committing a crime. Remember: The purpose of bail is to give an arrested person her freedom until she is convicted of a crime, and the amount of bail must be no more than is reasonably necessary to keep her from fleeing before a case is over.


If a person can't afford the amount of bail on the bail schedule, he or she can ask a judge to lower it by filing a Motion to Reduce Bail Bond.  The accused can also file a Petition for Bail on the ground that the evidence against him is not strong, even if he or she is facing a

non-bailable offense.


Paying Bail


You can pay the full amount of the bail in Cash. If you are acquitted, you can withdraw the Bail that you posted. You can also buy a surety bind or post your property to pay for your bail.


Bail bond is like a check held in reserve: it represents the person's promise that he or she will appear in court when required to. The bail bond is purchased by payment of a  non-refundable premium (usually about 15% - 35% of the face amount of the bond).


A bail bond may sound like a good deal, but buying a surety bond may cost more in the long run. This is so because you have to renew the surety bond upon its expiration otherwise, upon motion of the prosecution, a warrant of arrest will be issued for failure to renew the surety bond. If the full amount of the bail is paid, it will be refunded (less a small administrative fee) when the case is over and all required appearances have been made. On the other hand, the 15%-35 premium is nonrefundable. In addition, the bond seller may require "collateral." This means that the person who pays for the bail bond must also give the bond seller a financial interest in some of the person's valuable property. The bond seller can cash in on this interest if the suspect fails to appear in court.


Getting Out of Jail Free


In certain cases, people are released "on their own Recognizance" or to a refutable person in the community. The accused released on Recognizance must simply sign a promise to show up in court. He doesn't have to post bail. The accused  commonly requests release on his own recognizance at his first court appearance. If the judge denies the request, he may then ask for a reduced bail.


In general, accused who are released on Recognizance have strong ties to a community, making them unlikely to flee.


Under Revised Rules on Criminal Procedure, the accused may ask the Court to be Release on Recognizance (1) if he has stayed in Jail for period equal to or more than the possible maximum imprisonment of the offense charged to which he may be sentenced; or (2) person has already stayed in jail for a period equal to or more than the minimum of the principal penalty prescribed for the offense charged.


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You're invited to call us to discuss your Philippine Criminal Law concerns. We shall be glad to talk with you over the telephone, or in our office or yours, whichever is easiest for you. You can also e-mail us at and we shall get back to you immediately.



Mile Long Building 316

Legaspi Village

Amorsolo Street

Makati City

Telephone: 8941441

TeleFax: 8124296


















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