How Does a Judge Determine Bail Amount?

There are several factors for determining your bail amount. If you believe there is a warrant out for your arrest, contact Lighting Bail Bonds at (405) 310-3020. The following factors will come into play when setting a bail amount:

Frame of Mind

Domestic abuse history can affect bail amount

Your frame of mind will play a factor in your bail amount

The judge will asses your frame of mind when making a decision. If you are deemed to be a threat to society, the penalty will be stiffer. If you arrive at your hearing intoxicated, or impaired in any way, you are unlikely to receive the benefit of the doubt from your judge. In addition, if you are deemed as a threat to flee the area, there will be consequences. Reasons you might be deemed a threat to flee include; potential loss of child custody and history of abrupt travel.

Prior Convictions

Your prior convictions will play a major factor in determining your bail amount. A history of serious convictions, such as domestic violence, will likely set the bail higher. If your criminal history is egregious, the judge reserves the right to deny bail all together. If you are unsure of your own criminal history, contact us and we will point you in the right direction.

Seriousness of Offense

The most important factor in determining bail is the crime you committed. How likely are you to be convicted? How much evidence has been gathered against you? What is the maximum penalty for crime you are charged with? Many factors contribute to the seriousness of the crime. To ensure you have the best information available, contact Lightning Bail Bonds today.

4 Bail Bondsman Myths Debunked

Contact Lightning Bail Bonds if you need help with a bail

 Here 4 are common myths about bail bondsman that you might not have known were myths:


Bail Bondsmen Only Accept Cash

This is probably the most common myth. Many people often think that the only way to pay a bondsman is to come up with the full amount in cash. This is false. You do not have to come up with the full amount in cash. There are actually many ways to pay bail. Use of your assets is one form of collateral that pretty much all bail bond agencies will accept. Defendants or their families are left with only a percentage of the total bail amount, which can be paid via credit card or cash.


Bail Bondsmen Can Negotiate Costs in Court

The bail bond agent actually has nothing to do with the amount the court has set for  bail. This decision is made by the judge and is dependent the on the crime and other factors. A bail bond agent has no way of negotiating the bail amount.  Bail Bondsman act within the law and offer payment options that are within the framework.


A Bail Bond Agent Can Get Anyone Out of Jail

This is a myth. Technically speaking, a bail bond agent cannot get anyone out of jail. This decision is once again made by a judge. The judge decides whether or not bail is an option. When that is determined, a bail amount is set. A bail bond agent can then help the defendant enable the bail in order for them to be out of jail during the trial.


 A Bail Bondsman Is a Bounty Hunter

Once again a myth. A bail bond agent is in no way a bounty hunter. At times they may take on some of the services of a bounty hunter in order to track defendants who have skipped  bail. This is not the case most of the time though. It’s actually more cost-efficient to charge the person who initiated the collateral rather than hiring a bounty hunter.


Separating fact from fiction is essential when working with bail bond agents. These myths typically cause people to question the entire industry when in reality most bail bond agents are simply doing their jobs.


If you are looking for an honest experience with a bail bond agency in Norman, OK, call Lightning Bail Bonds today at {nw_data field=phone}

The Terms of Your Bail Bond

Before getting a bail bond, getting out of jail seems like the hard part. After you find a trusted, local bail bondsman and get out, though, you are not completely free yet. Though your specific case will influence your bond, these are the standard terms of your bail bond.

Make Your Court Date

Judge's Gavel

After Leaving Jail Early on a Bail Bond, It is Essential that You Show up for Your Court Date

The most important thing to remember after getting out of jail on bail is to show up for your court date. A good bail bondsman will even help remind you of when you should be in court. This is because there are several very bad consequences if you fail to appear in court. Court dates and times cannot be changed to suit your schedule, and missing it can lead to a number of penalties.

If you do not have a valid reason for failing to appear, the judge will issue a warrant for your arrest and you may be charged with failure to appear. You may then be arrested by a police officer of bail enforcement officer and taken back to jail. Your bail will be forfeited and you will be liable for the full amount of your original bail.

Don’t Get Arrested Again

Depending on your unique case, getting arrested again could lead to bond forfeiture. It could also cause you to get stuck in another jail and miss your court date! Try to stay out from behind bars while out on bail. If you have outstanding warrants, talk to a bail bondsman or lawyer to have them resolved.

Other Terms of Your Bail Bond

Each bail bond is unique and will apply specifically to your circumstances. Depending on your charges and the price of bail, you might have additional requirements. Make sure to thoroughly review the terms of your bail bond with your bondsman to have all your questions answered.

If you need a bail bondsman or have have questions about bail in Norman, OK, call Lightning Bail Bonds at (405) 310-3020 today!

DWI & DUI Myths

Drunk DrivingYou can pass a breathalyzer by eating a mouth-full of peanut butter first! Coffee helps sober you up fast! These are just theories you hear for how to avoid DWI and DUI charges, but do they work? Read on to discover some common myths about DWI & DUI offenses in Oklahoma.

You Can Only Be Arrested for a 0.08% BAC or More.

While the legal limit for DUI (Driving Under the Influence) in Oklahoma is 0.08%, you can be arrested for driving with a BAC (Blood Alcohol Content) of 0.05-0.08% and charged with a DWI (Driving While Impaired) offense.

Peanut butter? Coffee? Underpants?

There are a lot of myths going around about passing a breathalyzer, and they’re all absolutely false. People who are pulled over for drinking while driving offenses have tried a lot of very interesting things to avoid failing breathalyzer tests. One misguided man in Canada even tried to eat his own underwear in an attempt to “soak up” the alcohol in his system and/or throw off the test. It did not work. The only thing that can lower your BAC is time.

You Can Just Refuse the Test.

How about just refusing to take the breathalyzer? Not in Oklahoma. The state of Oklahoma is an “Implied Consent” state, that means if you are stopped by an officer or arrested under suspicion of DUI then you automatically consent to taking a breathalyzer test.

If you or a loved one have been arrested for DWI or DUI offenses don’t just sit in jail, call the excellent bondsmen at Lighting Bail Bonds at (405) 310-3020 today.

What Happens When You Fail To Appear In Court While On Bail

When it comes to bail bonds, it is important that the defendant shows up to their court date. Unfortunately, skipping bail happens and it can cause a lot of problems. If you think you skipping bond won’t have an affect on you, you are in for a surprise. Here is what happens when you fail to appear in court while on bail.

What Happens When You Fail To Appear In Court While On Bail

Your Bond Will Be Revoked

What does that mean exactly? If a friend, family, or bondsman pays for your bond and the defendant does not show up for a court date, they are in danger of losing the money or property they put up to bail the defendant out. Also, it is now the responsibility of the bail bondsman to bring you in for skipping bail.

Current Charges Won’t Go Away

Skipping bail won’t make the charges magically disappear. In fact, if a defendant decides to skip bail, they will continue to be indicted of their current charges, but will also have further charges added for skipping bail.

A Bailbondsman Will Hire A Bounty Hunter

If a defendant jumps bail in Oklahoma, it is legal for a bounty hunter to come after them and bring them to the proper authorities. If a bail bondsman paid your bail, they will hire a bounty hunter to find your for skipping bail.

If you have additional questions about bail services and bail procedures in Norman, OK, call the bail bondsmen at Lightning Bail Bonds at (405) 310-3020. We want to help you with your bail bonds, so you can get back to living your life.


What to Do When a Friend Gets Arrested

We all hope our friends are loyal and caring, but what do you do when a friend gets arrested? Whether you’re with them at the time of arrest or they call you from jail, here’s how to best help when a friend gets arrested.

Keep Them (and Yourself) Calm

what to do when a friend gets arrestedPerhaps the most important thing to do when a friend gets arrested is that you both try to stay calm. Your friend is likely panicked, upset, and maybe afraid, and you don’t want to make the situation worse. Plus, if you are with your friend during the arrest, you could risk getting yourself arrested as well. Refrain from shouting at or threatening the arresting officer and do not interfere. Try to keep your voice and body language even and non-threatening.

Gather Important Information

In order to help your friend, you should collect as much valuable information as possible. If you’re at the scene, get the name of the arresting officer and find out where your friend will be taken for processing. You should also find out your friend’s charges and any other relevant information.

Figure Out Bail

Once your friend has been processed and booked, a judge will determine bail. Extremely serious crimes may not be eligible for bail; however, most are eligible. In order to leave jail before his or her court date, your friend must pay cash bail or get a bail bond. Cash bail prices can range from $100 to $100,000 and more, and a bail bond is often much more affordable. With a bail bond, you need only pay a small percentage of the total cash bail price.

If you’re interested in learning more about bail bond services in Norman, OK, call Lightning Bail Bonds at (405) 310-3020 today!

Myths About Bail Bonds

If you’re not familiar with the bail system, it can be overwhelming and confusing. Many people’s ideas of bail are based on television shows and rumors. Here are some of the most common myths about bail bonds:

You Must Pay Bail Bonds With Cash

myths about bail bondsFalse. The majority of bail agencies nowadays accept many forms of payment, including major credit cards, debit cards, and more. Some require that you put up some form of collateral like a car title or valuable jewelry. Many bail agents also offer payment plans to make things even simpler!

Bail Agents Can Lower The Price Of Bail

False. The price of bail is determined by the judge or bail commissioner. When setting the price of bail, judges will consider the standard price of bail for the charges you or your loved one have been charged with. He will also take into consideration your past criminal record, circumstances of arrest, flight risk, threat to the public, and more. This price is then non-negotiable.

Bail Bond Fees Are Refundable

False. When you get a bail bond, you must pay the bail bondsman a one-time fee. This is usually 10 percent of the price of cash bail. No matter what happens, this fee is non-refundable. However, you might be liable to pay even more if the person who was released on bail misses their court date.

These are just a few misconceptions many people have and myths about bail bonds. If you have questions, or need bail assistance in Norman, OK, call Lightning Bail Bonds at (405) 310-3020!

Why is Bail Constitutionally Protected?

bail 8th amendmentConstitutional protection refers to those basic protections guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution. The protection stated in the constitution is part of those protections in the Bill of Rights.

The Eighth Amendment

This amendment in the U.S. Constitution is part of the Bill of Rights. It prohibits the Federal Government from imposing excessive bail, or fines, cruel and/or unusual punishment, inclusive of torture.

While bail isn’t always a guarantee, as certain crimes it isn’t allowed per the Eighth Amendment, it’s protected by this same Amendment. It protects the people that require the bail to be released from jail to prepare their defense. Protection from excessive bail and/or fines also makes sure there are enough funds and/or collateral available to be able to pay for the defense fund if required. It’s known throughout history that paying for a defense isn’t cheap, especially with a serious charge.

Why is Bail Constitutionally Protected?

Bail is also protected by the constitution because in previous history it wasn’t. Since back in the day Sherriffs were the one to make the decision on fines and punishments, and they had a tendency to abuse their power, Parliament decided in 1275 that they would pass a statute that there would be bailable and non-bailable offenses.

Of course as always, technicalities in the laws were found and exploited keeping people imprisoned without bail even if the offense was bailable. These loopholes were eventually closed by the Habeas Corpus Act of 1679.

Finally judges were required to set bail, but then started setting impossible amounts of bail to achieve and were completely impractical. In 1689 the English Bill of Rights was adopted. However the Eighth Amendment was adopted into the Bill of Rights in 1791 and is almost identical to the English Bill of Rights of 1689. The English Bill of Rights of 1689 changed that as it stated “excessive bail ought not be required”. Although it never did describe what “excessive” meant, nor did it describe what is or isn’t a bailable offense. The Eighth Amendment has been interpreted to mean the bail should meet the offense.

Positive Effects of Bail Bonds on the Economy

Money for Everybodybail bonds economyFor most, the system of bail and bail bonds may seem like nothing more than a closed business between an agent, the court system, and any number of incarcerated individuals. But, the bail bond business actually has significant effects on the local and state economy, most of which are highly positive. Here are ways that it fuels positive economic growth that we can all enjoy.

Added Employment

Over the past few years, especially during the beginning of the economic downturn in 2007-2008, the notion of unemployment has become a hotly debated prospect, with most discussions focusing on how to create more jobs for Americans everywhere. The bail bond industry contributes to this by opening up numerous employment opportunities for Americans of all skill levels that wish to work in the criminal justice system. And as more and more jobs are created in this industry, fewer citizens will face the prospect of not having a job.

More Money for the Community 

The nature of issuing a bail bond is simple: an incarcerated individual, or often someone close to them, calls a bail bond agent, pays a certain premium, and is then offered a temporary release until their trial begins.

Have you ever imagined what would happen though, if individuals were forced to pay the full amount of the court proceedings? Countless more men and women would end up staying in jail, which would take money from taxpayers across the entire country. Also, the incarcerated must be fed, clothed, sheltered, and tended to in a humane manner and it creates huge sums of money to be allocated from other, more pressing projects. With the existence of the bail bond system, this capital is freed up, allowing it to be spent on civic projects, such as better education systems, sturdier roads, and anything else the taxpayers want.

Money Changing Hands is Good

Economists across the world have debated whether or not consumer spending is a driver of economic growth, or simply a consequence. Ultimately though, many economists concur over the fact that money changing hands in an economy is a sign of a strong economy, and should be fostered in every way possible. Because the bail bond system epitomizes this concept entirely, the growth of these endeavors are a sure sign of positive growth, and should be encouraged, as this then can have a positive effect on us all.

Bail Bonds Are Good for the Economy

Although bail bonds are an easy way for you to secure the release of a loved one, they also actually help support a growing economy for us all.

Overcrowding in Oklahoma County Jail

Almost 1,300 inmates at the Oklahoma County jail were being unlawfully held. The public defender, Bob Ravitz, has reported to the presiding judge and county commissioners that it is three to a cell. While another dozen were being held four to a cell. The routine of crowding in so many has created a great amount of overcrowding to the jail cells. This confinement is unlawful and unconstitutional. Ravitz has asked the District Judge. Don Deason, to order the release of 200 inmates who are less of a risk to public safety.

jail overcrowdingRavitz is very adamant about trying to help the situation but seems that he is getting nowhere. He believes that most of the inmates are people who are on probation violations where no new charges exist, sanctions, and low-level crimes. The judge did not immediately act on the request. He said Friday he may schedule a hearing, with the sheriff present. Deason is trying to find alternatives methods to the issue. In the official notice of unlawful conditions, Ravitz reported the jail had 2,446 inmates Wednesday, May 25. He reported a review of jail rolls Tuesday and identified 430 cells holding three inmates — a total of 1,290 inmates. There is also a disregard for their health and safety in these kinds of conditions and situations.

Sheriff John Whetsel, who oversees the jail, and said Friday, May 27, that the public defender’s notice is incorrect on the number of triple-celled inmates. There actually happened to be 250 cells that normally have two inmates. And in those 250 cells, they added a third inmate. While addressing that Ravitz was wrong in his count, Whetsel said that he does support what Ravitz is trying to do to lower the jail population. He said that it is a good thing that Ravitz is trying to get the courts to address the issues that he is seeking addressing. Also, Whetsel wanted to make sure that things looked friendly, not adversial because of the fact that he isn’t trying to be the enemy in the process, just addressing some of the problems with trying to lower the population.

When there was a jail inspection done the issue of three inmates to a cell arose most recently because of a state Health Department inspection of the jail in January. In March, health officials said the facility was in violation of Oklahoma jail standards because there were cells at the time of the inspection that were overcapacity. To help ease overcrowding, county commissioners voted May 2 to no longer hold 196 extra inmates sent from the state’s prisons.

District Attorney, David Prater, encouraged the commissioners to cancel the contract with the Corrections Department. The district attorney pointed out that the U.S. Justice Department still could take civil action against the county unless efforts are made in good faith to address problems. Proposals to build a new Oklahoma County jail have not received much support over the years. Currently, a task force of residents and officials is looking at the entire county justice system in an effort to identify ways to reduce overcrowding.