Bail Bonds FAQ

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What is a bail bond?

When a person is arrested for a crime, he or she is held in jail until their court date. However, a judge may grant bail or release them on their own recognizance. So what exactly is a bail bond and how does it help so many people?

Bail Bondsman

A bail bond is essentially a surety bond that is provided by a licensed bond company. This may be through a certified bail agent, as well as a bail bondsman who financially helps the release of a defendant from jail. Here are the bond types available:

• Civil Bond

This type of bond is for civil cases and ensures payment of debt assessed against the defendant. Interest and other costs may also be assessed against the defendant.

• Criminal Bond

This type of bond is for criminal cases and ensures the defendant will appear for trial. This, of course, is at the behest of the court and this bond ensures payment for any penalties or fines that are assessed against the defendant.

How much will bail cost me?

In any civil or criminal case, the judge will set the bail amount. If the defendant cannot afford to pay the bail amount, he or she can get help from a bondsman to post bail. To post the bail, the defendant is normally required to pay the bondsman 10% of the bail amount. This, however, may vary depending on the governing rules, as well as how much the bail amount was set by the presiding judge. The judge may grant or refuse bail is he/she feels the defendant is a flight risk.

Do I need collateral to get bail?

Yes, you do need some form of collateral to secure the bond. This is known as bail collateral and is offered in place of money to secure the release of a defendant. Collateral may include the following:

• The defendant’s home, car, or other property that is wholly owned by the defendant.
• Jewelry or other personal possessions that equals the bail bond amount.

If the defendant does not have sufficient collateral, the bondsman will reach out to the defendant’s loved ones and friends to see if they can help. They can assist in covering the bail amount if they are financially able to do so. Extra cash payment and full collateral are also required for the bond to be posted. Once released, the defendant must reappear in court at the designated date.

What things can I put up for collateral?

As mentioned above, the defendant may offer other forms of collateral to secure the bond. This includes his or her home, as well as car, jewelry, and personal possessions. However, these items and/or property must be owned by the defendant in question. They are not legally able to have someone else’s home or car up for collateral unless the owner of these properties and/or items have agreed to do so. A defendant can also put his up business (if owned) as a form of collateral to cover the costs of the bail.

What if the person I bail out does not appear in court?

If the defendant fails to appear in court, the bond is dismissed. The court will also require 90% of the remaining bond portion to be paid. As a result, the bail bondsman will use the defendant’s collateral to pay the court the remaining bail bond amount. This includes the defendant’s home, jewelry, stocks or other personal possessions he or she pledged as collateral.

A warrant of the defendant’s arrest is also issued and the court will take it from there. However, if the defendant does show up in court, the bail bond is dismissed and the collateral is given back to the individual who posted it. The bail bondsman keeps a ten percent fee as his or her profit.

Example of a Bail Bond

For example, Mike is arrested and is temporarily placed in jail. He goes before the judge and the court sets Mike’s bail at $10,000. He does not want to stay in jail but does not have $10,000 in cash to pay the court. As a result, Mike reaches out to a bail bondsman to post bail for him. The bondsman, however, requires $1,000 to post the bond for Mike to secure his release.

For the remaining $9,000, the bondman secures collateral from Mike and/or his family and friends. This is in the form of a house, car, jewelry, stocks, etc. If Mike fails to appear back in court, the bondsman will have to pay the remaining $9,000 to the court. This will be done via Mike’s collateral that was pledged earlier for his bond.

If Mike posted the $10,000 in cash, he would have been entitled to a complete refund at end of the case.