Tulsa criminal defense attorney Kevin Adams explains the Oklahoma bail bonds process.

Call 918 582 1313 for a free consultation.

Overview of the Oklahoma State Bonding Process

If you or a loved one is charged with an Oklahoma state felony or misdemeanor, the selection of a bail bondsmen is an important decision. (Defendants charged with federal offenses are generally not required to post a bail bond. More information about federal criminal charges.)

While most defendants receive a bond, not everyone accused of a crime is not entitled to a bond. Individuals charged with a capital offense, violent offenses, offenses where the maximum sentence may be life imprisonment or life without parole may not receive a bond. The most common categories for defendants to be denied bond are defendants who failed to appear on a previous bond, defendants who are charged with additional charges while out on bond for a previous charge or defendants who are charged with homicide.

Methods of Posting Bonds in Oklahoma

The most common way for individuals to get out of jail is to hire a bail bondsman to post the bond for them. When a bail bondsman bonds an individual out of jail the bondsman is financially responsible if that individual does not show up to court. Most bail bondsmen charge a fee of 10%, of the total bond, for this service. In the Tulsa area some bondsmen will allow defendants to pay 5% of the total bond as a down payment and to pay out the remaining 5%. These fees are compensation to the bail bondsmen for the risk they take and is not refunded at the conclusion of the case. Some bondsmen in and around Tulsa will negotiate the bonding fees, especially if an attorney they know is involved in the case. For example it may be possible to negotiate a fee of 8% instead of 10%. (While this may not seem like a lot on a $50,000 bond this 2% would save you $1,000.) (I know that on many cases Alameda Bail Bonds (918) 599-7651, will bond defendants for an 8% fee instead of 10%. You can also visit their website at Alameda Bail Bonds I have know Angel with Alameda Bail Bonds for over 20 years and know him to be a reputable bondsman.)

In selecting a bondsman it is important to hire a reputable bondsman and follow the rules established by the bondsman. If a defendant does not follow the rules a bondsman has the authority to return an individual to custody and no longer be responsible for that persons bond. Some common rules of bondsmen are that defendants call the bondsman to check in on a weekly basis, that defendants show up for all court appearances and that defendants do not leave the state without permission on the bondsman. If you contact me Mr. Adams he will be glad to help find a bondsman.  

If defendants have 100% of the bond they can post a cash bond with the Court Clerk and the money will be refunded to them at the conclusion of the case. Defendants can also post a property bond if they or a friend or family member owns property. However, the bonding power of property is substantially lower than the true value of the property and most defendants do not own enough property to post such a bond. Mr. Adams can assist you in posting a property bond.

Bond Hearings in Oklahoma

Every Defendant charged with a crime in Oklahoma state court is entitled to a hearing to determine whether he or she is entitled to a bond and if entitled to a bond to determine what the appropriate amount of the bond should be. If a bond has already been set a defendant is entitled to a bond reduction hearing where they may urge the court to reduce the bond. A defendant is entitled to have the hearing but is not necessarily entitled to have a bond set or to have the bond that has been set reduced.

At that hearing the Defendant is entitled to be represented by counsel, to present witnesses, and to cross-examine witnesses called by the state. At that hearing the Court will consider some of the following factors; the seriousness of the crime charged against the defendant, the Defendant’s criminal record, the Defendant’s length of residence in the community, the Defendant’s employment status, the identity of responsible members of the community who would vouch for Defendant’s reliability, and any other factors indicating Defendant’s mode of life or ties to the community. The Courts decision on whether to grant bond or to set bond in a certain amount is appealable to the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals.

In Brill v. Gurich, 1998 OK CR 49, 965 P.2d 404 ( Okla. Cr. 1998) the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals discussed the guidelines to be considered by Courts when determining the amount of bail.

1. The seriousness of the crime charged against the defendant, the apparent likelihood of conviction and the extent of the punishment prescribed by the Legislature;

2. The defendant's criminal record, if any, and previous record on bail if any;

3. His reputation, and mental condition;

4. The length of his residence in the community;

5. His family ties and relationships;

6. His employment status, record of employment and his financial condition;

7. The identity of responsible members of the community who would vouch for defendant's reliability;

8. Any other factors indicating defendant's mode of life, or ties to the community or bearing on the risk of failure to appear.

Should you post a bond in serious criminal cases?

With serious criminal cases defendants and their families need to ask themselves whether posting a bond is the right decision. If you are faced with limited resources you may want to consider spending your money hiring the best criminal lawyer you can afford rather than spending your money on bond. This is especially true when facing a serious criminal charge that you may be required to take to jury trial.

The first reaction of most people when they or their loved one is arrested is to immediately post bond. However, in most counties around the state (including Tulsa, Rogers and Mayes counties) if the defendant post a bond or has bond posted on his or her behalf, they are required to hire an attorney. Many defendants have bought their temporary freedom only to be recommitted by the judge because they failed to retain a lawyer. If a defendant can not afford to both bond out of jail and hire the lawyer you need, than the defendant is better off not bonding out of jail.

Send your questions to LawyerAdams@me.com

I try to respond to all inquires as quickly as possible. If you need immediate assistance you can call my office (918) 582-1313 or my cell phone (918) 230-9513. If you are in need of emergency assistance feel free to call my cell phone anytime either day or night.