In most New Mexico criminal cases, including both felony and the most common misdemeanor cases of DWI and domestic violence, bail will be set for the release of the defendant. There are a couple of ways to get the person out of jail.
Cash Only Bail
On occasion, cash only bail is set. This means that the full cash bond must be paid in order to get the defendant out of jail. In these cases, the bail must be paid to the court in full prior to release.
Once the case is over, assuming the defendant has showed for all hearings, the bond is returned in full. If the defendant misses hearings, the court may charge warrant fees depleting the bond. If the defendant skips, then the bond is forfeited completely.
In Albuquerque, if you wish to post a cash bond on your own, you can do so through customer service at the Albuquerque Metropolitan Court or the Criminal Division of the Second Judicial District Court. Metro Court has a customer service window as well that is open 24/7 where you can post bond. There is no customer service window at district court so bond must be posted during business hours.
Cash or Surety Bail
In cases involving cash or surety bail, the defendant can be released upon payment of the full cash bail or the posting of a bond by a bail bondsman. The bail bond route is the route that most will take for a couple of reasons.
Advantages of Using a Bail Bondsman
There are several advantages to using a bail bondsman. First, in order to obtain release, you need only post 10% of the cash bail. For many, this is necessary due to the difficulty of raising the full cash bail.
Another advantage to using a bondsman is that the bondsman will take care of all the tasks necessary for getting the defendant out of jail. Once you have paid the bondsman and filled out the necessary paperwork, the bondsman will take over insuring the proper release of the defendant.
Finally, the only money at stake for you when using a bail bondsman is the 10% deposit. The bondsman then assumes the risk of the defendant not showing for court. Most defendants do show for court but a no-show is a risk and when cash bond is paid, you will bear the full risk of the defendant’s no-show for court.
Disadvantages of Using a Bail Bondsman
The primary disadvantage is the cost of using a bail bondsman. As noted, the fee for services is usually 10%. On occasion, depending upon the bondsman, the charges, the financial situation of the defendant, the criminal history of the defendant and other factors the bondsman may deem relevant, the bail bondsman may charge less than 10%.
Keep in mind that the 10% fee is not refundable. Some folks for some reason expect to get a refund when the case is over.
As discussed above, the fee is charged because the bondsman has assumed the risk of the defendant not showing for court. It is not returned because the defendant shows. Likewise, no additional fees are charged if the defendant doesn’t show.
Payment of Cash Bond
Assuming you decide to pay the cash bond in full, you must pay the bond directly to the court. The bond can be paid by cash or credit card. Checks are not accepted.
For Albuquerque Metropolitan Court, the bond can be paid at customer service in the Metro Court lobby or at the customer service window located on the south end of the building on Lomas. The customer service window is open 24/7.
For the Second Judicial District Court in Albuquerque, the same process is followed. However, there is no customer service window at district court. The bond must be paid during business hours through the Criminal Division in the Court Clerk’s office.
Once bond is posted, the process for release can take hours (sometimes many hours) for the paperwork to be processed through the jail. Once the defendant is released, you can pick the defendant up at the Bernalillo County Metropolitan Detention Center. If the defendant is not picked up, the jail will transport the defendant downtown with other inmates where they are released.