Frequently Asked Questions 

How do I get someone out of jail?

After being arrested, and within 12 hours of being lodged in jail, defendants will be approached by a pretrial officer who will try to facilitate release for the accused. You may contact the local Pretrial Release Officer with questions. You may assist the Pretrial Officer by verifying information or expressing interest in signing as surety or posting bond in some other fashion (i.e. cash, property, partially secured, etc.) Contact numbers for your local pretrial services program.

What does it mean to post bond or sign as surety?

There are different bond options available to the judiciary. Here are the most common types of release utilized by judges:

  • Release on Recognizance—requires only the signature of the defendant and a promise to appear in court as scheduled.
  • Cash bond—requires full cash amount to posted plus fees. If you choose to post this bond on behalf of another, and the person does not show up for court appearances or does not abide by conditions that may be imposed by the Court, you will be subject to have this cash forfeited by the Court. If no violations of the conditions of bond occur, then the full amount will be refunded upon disposition of the case.
  • Property bond—requires property owners to have equity in their property that is equal to twice the face amount of the bond in order to qualify. A lien will be placed on this property to secure the bond. Once again, if the person does not show up for court appearances or does not abide by conditions that may be imposed by the Court, you will be subject to forfeiture by the Court. There are also fees for processing this type of bond. The lien on the property will be released upon disposition of the case.
  • Partially Secured—requires a percentage of the cash amount set as bond (usually 10%, but can vary). If a bond has been set at $500 you would be required to post $50 (if the partially secured bond was set at 10 %?). There is a processing fee for this type of bond, so you would receive 90% of the $50 you posted once the case is disposed. If the person does not show up for court appearances or does not abide by conditions that may be imposed by the Court, you may be subject to pay $500 as forfeiture by the Court.
  • Surety Bond—requires a third party to sign with the defendant. The party signing will usually be required to own property but a lien will not necessarily be placed upon the property. These types of bonds are subject to approval on a local basis. If the person does not show up for court appearances or does not abide by conditions that may be imposed by the Court, you may be subject to forfeiture by the Court. The amount of the forfeiture would be the amount set as bond.
  • Unsecured Bond—requires that the defendant sign and promise to appear. There is a money amount attached to this type of bond and a failure to appear in court or a failure to abide by conditions imposed by the court by the person could lead to a forfeiture of the bond that the defendant would be required to pay.

How do I contact a Pretrial Release Officer?

Contact numbers for Pretrial Release Agencies can usually be found under government listings in phone books or on the web. Contact numbers for your local pretrial services program.

Why doesn’t Kentucky use bail bondsmen?

In 1976, Kentucky became the first state in the country to abolish bail bonding for profit. The Kentucky General Assembly created the Pretrial Services Agency to administer a pretrial release program as a division of the Administrative Office of the Courts.

Can a bail bondsmen post a bond in Kentucky?

No. KRS 431.510 makes it unlawful for bail bondsmen to engage in business by furnishing “bail or funds or property to serve as bail or make bonds or enter into undertakings as surety.”

How do I know if I or a loved one qualifies for MCR (Monitored Conditional Release) or Diversion?

Pretrial Officers recommend to the court those persons who meet the criteria for MCR. Check with your local officer as these criteria may be different from county to county.

Diversion clients are usually referred to Pretrial Services by the Court and are usually first-time offenders charged with misdemeanor offenses. However, this too may vary by jurisdiction so check with your local Pretrial Officer for qualifications.