dwi-bailIf you are arrested for drunk driving in North Carolina, you face a number of expenses. You probably know that about fines and various fees that you’ll owe. One that’s not often spoken of is bail.

Bail is a device that is designed to ensure that you appear in court. If the court decides to it will set bail at an amount high enough so that you don’t blow off the court date and leave the state. If you can put up the entire amount in cash, then you’ll be free until your trial.

The amount of the bail for a North Carolina DWI varies widely. Judges have what is called a bail schedule, which helps them decide on bail based on a few factors:

  • The severity of the crime
  • Your past criminal record
  • Whether or not you are employed
  • Whether you have close ties to your community

Thus, bail for a DWI could be $500, $5,000, or more. In July, after a drunken UNC student killed two persons the judge set bail at $1 million, but such amounts are usually seen in cases when there has been great physical harm or death.

Bail Bonds

Many people do not have easy access to the whole bond amount, however. They need to arrange a bail bond. Essentially, a businessman called a bail bondsman will lend you the bail money in exchange for a 10 percent fee, which is non-refundable.

Secured and Unsecured

The bail bondsman needs to know that you’ll pay the full amount back after your trial. He or she might need security from you. It could be your car (if it hasn’t been impounded), your house, or some other valuable. Obviously, if you skip your court date, the bondsman keeps your security.

If you are a solid and recognized member of your community, and your crime was not too severe, you might be able to obtain an unsecured bond – in other words, the bondsman will take your word that you’ll pay it back.

So the answer to the questions are that how much bail you’ll have to put up will depend on the factors mentioned above. If you put it all up yourself, you’ll get it back after your trial. If a bondsman lends it to you,  the ten percent you’ve paid is gone.

The responsibility of bail – a reminder of the criminal nature of drunk driving.

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