How Bail Bonds Work

Bail bonds are ways of getting a person out of jail who is waiting for his or her trial in a court of law for the criminal charges filed against him or her. The accused is released from the custody of the law enforcement officials in exchange for money that the court holds onto until all the trials, hearings and legal proceedings are complete. If the accused fails to be present at the court during his or her hearings, the sum of money given to the court for the release of the accused gets forfeited.

Now, most of the times it comes to pass that the family of the accused are unable to get the bail money all by themselves. This is the point where a bail bondsman comes into the picture. The bail bondsman pays the bail money on behalf of the accused in exchange for a fee of 10% or more of the amount being deposited as the bail money. This is a risky business as the bail bondsman might incur a huge loss if the accused doesn’t show up at the court at the predefined date and time. To be safe, the bail agent seeks guarantee from the accused in the form of property papers, jewellery, written guarantees by credit-worthy people known to the accused and the like.

What happens after the bail has been posted

After the bail bond has been posted on behalf of the defendant, the court officials issue a release document or a bail ticket which is provided to the police in order to inform them that they can release the accused from their custody. The liability of a bail bond gets terminated when the accused turns up for his or her trial on the specified date and time as per the written agreement with the court. The same happens if the accused dies or is re-arrested on some other charges in the same or in some other jurisdiction.

Now, if the defendant fails to turn up for the trial on the specified date mentioned in the bail bond, the court issues an arrest warrant for the accused for jumping bail. The money given to the court as bail money gets forfeited. If the bail agent finds that the accused is unlikely to return to the court for the trial after the bail, the former has every right to deny the latter a bail bond. In other cases, if the accused has not committed any criminal offences in the past and has a good reputation in the community, the chances of his or her getting such a bond is much higher.

A point to be noted is that chesterfield bail bonds are illegal in some states as bail agents earn profits for posting bails on behalf of the defendants.

Different Types of Bail Bonds

The type of the bail bond is highly dependent on the type of the crime(s) that the accused is charged of committing, the severity of the crime, the criminal records of the accused, the rules and regulations of the jurisdiction in which the accused was arrested, etc.

Following are the few common types of bail bonds

Cash bond

In this type, the defendant has to pay the court in cash for getting bail. Provisions are there for anyone to post such a bail on behalf of the accused. This bail money is returned by the court at the end of the trial after giving its verdict. If the accused disappears or doesn’t show up at the court, the whole amount of money gets forfeited.

Surety bond

A bail agent submits the bail money to the court officials and posts the bail on behalf of the accused. In exchange for this, the bail agent charges a non-refundable fee of about 10% of the bail amount from the defendant or the family of the defendant. Also, some collateral is also asked for by the bail agent just in case if the accused fails to turn up for the trial and the agent incurs a loss of the bail money.

Property bond

Here, a real property can be put up as a guarantee on behalf of the accused. This collateral can be put up by the defendant or anyone who is willing to do so. This is also known as the secured bond. The monetary value of the real estate property has to be twice the amount of the bond in most cases. If the accused doesn’t show up at the court, the court can seize the property.

Federal bond

If the accused is charged with a federal crime, a federal bond must be postedin order for the accused to be bailed out of jail. These are more expensive in nature and a bigger percentage is to be given to the bail agent as the non-refundable fee. The guarantee being provided by the bail agent is backed by insurance as well.

Immigration bond

These are essentially high risk bonds and are quite expensive as well. These are for illegal immigrants who are charged for committing crimes and got arrested. The bail agent has to be specially certified for posting immigration bonds. The amount of the non-refundable fee of the bail agent can be even up to 20% of the bail amount being given to the court.

Personal recognizance bond

This is also known as the unsecured bond. There is no money required in this kind of bond. All that the accused has to do is to sign a contract that states that if he or she does not turn up for the trial, he or she will be liable to pay the court the bail bond amount.

Some FAQS About Bail Bonds

What are the things I should know before contacting a bail agent?

You should be aware of the location of the jail where the accused is in custody. This includes the name of the city and the state in which the jail is located. You should know the name of the jail as well. You should also have the knowledge of the amount required for the bail. With this information, the bail agent will be able to tell you about the cost that will be incurred by you on posting such a bond. You should also know the full name of the person who has got arrested as well as his or her booking number.

Is there a possibility that I’ll get a discount on the fees of the bail agent?

The amount you’ll have to pay the bail bondsman as fees depends on the statutes and regulations of the state. In some states, it can be as low as 8% of the bail money. In others, the fees might be 10% of the bail money for the same case. These agents and their companies are not legally allowed to give any discounts to anyone. In doing so, they might even lose their license.

For how long will the defendant be accountable to the bail agent and vice-versa?

The defendant will remain accountable to the bail agent as long as the former has pending dates at the court. The bond becomes cancelled or void as soon as judgment has been passed on the case irrespective of the fact that the court dropped the charges against the defendant or found the defendant guilty. After the judgment has been passed, neither is the defendant accountable to the bail agent nor is the latter responsible for any sentences, corrective procedures or fines imposed on the former for having been found guilty of the charges or for pleading out to the charges.

Can the accused leave the state while on bail?

If it is imperative that the accused needs to leave the state or the country, he or she must get the permission of the bonding office before doing so. If the court has directly forbidden the accused to leave the state or the country, he or she needs to get the permission of the court as well as the bonding office. Not doing so might even lead to the accused’s arrest.

In what conditions will I get my money back?

The money that has been given as a fee to the bail agent is absolutely non-refundable. But when the bail agent fails to keep his or her side of the deal, thena refund can be expected.

What is a collateral?

A collateral ona bond related to bail is a tangible or intangible asset that is accepted by the bail bondsman in order to guarantee that he or she does not incur a financial loss in case the accused violates the terms of the bond. Real estate properties, indemnity agreements, stocks, bank accounts, jewellery, credit cards, personal credit, cars, etc. are some of the collaterals that are accepted by bail agents.