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The Bail and Bond Process in Iowa

You've been arrested on multiple drug charges and taken into custody.  You've been charged with four counts of possession of controlled substances, two counts of unlawful possession of prescription drugs, and one count of keeping a drug house. You post $8,000 in bail and are let out of jail.

But what exactly is bail? The bail and bond process is used to secure your release from jail in exchange for meeting certain conditions. It is imposed to ensure that you will make your court dates and not commit any further offenses while out in the community. Your bond is set by the judge at your initial appearance. If your lawyer is present at your initial appearance, they may be able to argue for a lower bond to be set, or for bond to be cash or surety.

What to expect

The following is the general process for requesting and receiving bail:

  • You appear before a judge within 24 hours of your arrest.
  • The judge makes a determination as to the conditions for your release until your next court appearance.
  • The judge determines the amount of cash or surety bond, primarily based on your criminal record and the nature of your current charge.
  • Bail is posted with the Clerk of Court or through a bondsman.
  • You, or the person posting to the Clerk of Court on your behalf, will have the entire bond returned at the conclusion of your case, so long as you attend all court dates and obey any other restrictions imposed by the court. If posted by a bondsman, he or she retains 10% of a cash or surety bond, 20% on a cash bond.
  • If you fail to appear in court on the required dates or you pick up additional charges while out on bail, your bond may be revoked and reset at a higher amount or your bail may be forfeited.
  • If you or a friend or family member posts your bond, it can be returned to you only at the end of your case.

Bond guidelines

Just as Iowa provides sentencing guidelines, it offers guidelines for bail bonds as well. The bond schedule for crimes other than forcible felonies and misdemeanors is as follows:

  • Manufacturing or delivery of certain controlled substances - $25,000-$50,000
  • Class B felony - $25,000
  • Class C felony - $10,000
  • Class D felony - $5,000
  • Aggravated misdemeanor - $2,000
  • Serious misdemeanor - $1,000
  • Simple misdemeanor - $300

Your bond may be set higher or lower depending upon mitigating or aggravating factors. Sometimes, the court may even set no bond. In this case, you will likely want to do a bond review, or consult an attorney about the best option for you.

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