Chicago Bail Bonds Process

If you are charged with a criminal offense in Chicago, your first step is to talk to a Chicago criminal defense attorney who can help protect your rights from the very start of your case. If you are arrested, you may want to know how you can get out of jail as quickly as possible. That may involve the bail bonds process; however, even this initial step can involve complex rules and procedures. An experienced attorney can walk you through the process and help ensure your rights are protected as the court sets bond and continues with the criminal justice process.

Call O’Meara Law LLC today at to find out how we can help you from the very beginning of your case.

Setting Bail

The Illinois Legislature established the process for bail as part of the Illinois statute on criminal procedures. Under the statute, if you are arrested, you may be released from jail without the payment of bail if it finds that you don’t pose a danger to others and that you will comply with the court’s conditions, including appearing for all upcoming hearings. This is considered being released on a one’s own recognizance.

Otherwise, the statute provides that if you are accused of a crime in Illinois, you may be able to post a bail bond unless the crime is capital murder or potentially carries a sentence of life imprisonment. Additionally, the statute lists other crimes that are ineligible for bail where the court determines that releasing you poses a safety threat. Courts have wide discretion in setting bail amounts, and can take into consideration factors such as:

  • The nature and circumstances of the charged offense
  • Your criminal record
  • Whether the offense involved the use of, or threatened use of, violence
  • The involvement of corruption of public officials or employees
  • Use of a firearm or other weapons
  • Involvement of organized gang activity in the offense

In setting bail amounts, courts have an obligation to ensure that bail bonding is not punitive and that the amount set is not excessive. Courts are required to consider financial ability to pay bail. Prosecutors may try to ask for bail to be denied or for bail to be set at unreasonably high levels without enough support for such a request. A Chicago criminal defense attorney can argue on your behalf to ensure that the court properly considers all the circumstances in setting bail amounts.

Once bail is set, you can pay the entire bail amount or contract with a bail bondsman to post bail for you. Most bail bondsmen charge around 10 percent of the bail amount. Additionally, you can provide collateral, such as a real estate lien, prior to being released. Once the amount is paid, you will be released and are required to attend the next hearing date to avoid revocation.

Modifying or Revoking Bail

The court may increase or reduce the bail amount or alter the conditions for bail if it finds that the conditions were violated. The court can also revoke bail and remand you back to jail. The court usually holds a hearing before modifying or revoking bail where it hears evidence from the prosecution and from the defendant.

Experienced Defense of Criminal Cases in Chicago

O’Meara Law LLC is an experienced criminal defense firm in Chicago, and attorney Michael O’Meara understands every aspect of the criminal court process in Illinois from start to finish. He has over 20 years of criminal defense experience and he has helped clients fight virtually every type of criminal charge. He will take the time to analyze the facts of your case, explain your legal options, and determine the best strategy for a positive outcome in your case.

Contact O’Meara Law LLC today online or at to for a free, initial consultation.