“If you get arrested, don’t call me for bail money!”
Those are the words of many parents who are trying to impress on their young adult children the importance of staying out of trouble with the law. However, it’s time to rethink that tactic. If your son or daughter is arrested on a drug charge (or for anything else) in Alabama, paying their bail may be the most important way you can protect their future.
A punishment without conviction
Many people feel that the cash bail system is tremendously unfair to poorer people. It’s estimated that there are about 500,000 people sitting in local jails around the nation — despite not being convicted — at any given time. They simply can’t afford their bail without help. Generally speaking, one out of every three people arrested can’t afford bail.
Essentially, being unable to afford bail means enduring the punishment for a crime — whether you’re guilty or not. You may be stuck in jail for months before you actually get through your court case.
The benefits of bail
Aside from not suffering an unfair punishment before conviction, helping a loved one with their bail affords them the following benefits:
- They have a better chance of avoiding conviction. When in custody, the state has all the leverage they need to force a plea bargain. Many people accept a deal just to get out when they could otherwise avoid a criminal record.
- They can maintain a stable life. If someone is sitting in jail, they can’t work. They may lose their home. They may lose custody or visitation rights to their children. Even a short stint in jail can put someone on a downward trajectory for life.
- They have a better chance of being shown leniency. Someone who is out of jail can better demonstrate to the court that they’ve learned their lesson or are seeking help for the drug or alcohol problem that caused their arrest.
Far too many arrests for minor drug charges turn into nightmares for the defendants when they can’t afford bail. Don’t allow your loved one’s life to be uprooted over something like a drug possession charge. Posting bail can allow your loved one to fully participate in his or her own defense and protect their future.