Many people who are facing criminal charges in the United States cannot afford private legal counsel. And why should they? Private attorneys can cost an average of $500 an hour! And since it would be unfair to deny a person the right to sufficient legal counsel based on their income, the law provides governmental relief in the form of public defenders. Public defenders (PD’s) are real lawyers, even though it might be common belief that they are not. In fact, they are equally skilled and experienced as any criminal attorney in a private practice.
When a defendant cannot afford private counsel, they have the option of choosing a public defender. A court can either appoint defendants a PD, assigning them anonymously, or the defendant can choose to call the county’s public defenders’ office and apply for one themselves. Either way, a public defender can do a lot for you, including get you out of jail.
When you need to surrender to an arrest warrant, you have the advantage of setting up bail ahead of time to expedite the process. You also have the advantage of acquiring a public defender ahead of time to help you arrange bail and even negotiate the bail amount. And for arrest warrants, this is recommended. It is wise to have legal defense arranged up front if you are wanted for arrest. They can not only assist you with bail, they can also prepare and begin implementing your defense before you are even released.
It is not likely for a public defender to actually co-sign for your bail bond or pay the bond amount in cash to get you out of jail. What they will do is obtain the names and contact information of people you trust to bail you out of jail, or assist you in arranging to pay for your own bail bond. It is helpful to have a PD arrange these matters for you, but it is not necessary.
You can simply contact a bail bond company and arrange your own bail straight from the jail cell (provided that you behave yourself around jail staff). You can also call friends and family members from the holding cell and ask them to arrange post your bond. Most bail bond companies operate on a 24 hour schedule, so you can call and request their services any time. They offer free information and advice too.