- What is a Bail Bond?
- How is the Amount of Bail Decided?
- How is Bail Posted?
- What’s Collateral?
- Will the Collateral be Returned?
- What Information Do I Need to Provide the Bail Bond Agent?
- How much is the bail?
- How long does it take to get released from jail on bond?
- What happens if the defendant fails to appear?
A bail bond or surety bond is simply a monetary guarantee that a person who has been charged with a crime will appear before the court when they are ordered. Once a bond has been posted, the accused is released from custody until his court hearing.
The courts are responsible for setting bail, but most people want to be released immediately as opposed to waiting up to three days to see a judge. In most jails, bail is set according to previously set guidelines that specify bail amounts.
You can post cash or real property for the full amount of the bond directly with the court, but this may tie up much-needed funds and savings. Some jurisdictions may deduct court fees from your cash bond. You’ll also lose the benefit of confidentiality, since most courts follow stringent guidelines to show posted funds aren’t a product of criminal activity. In most cases, bail is posted through a bail bondsman. The bail agent collects a fee (or premium) and secures some form of collateral for the full amount of the bail. Fees vary by state, but are usually 10% of the bail amount, except for federal and immigration cases, which may be as high as 15%–20%.
Collateral is something of value that’s “held” by the bail agent to ensure the defendant is present for all court proceedings. A piece of real estate, a car, a bank account – all can be considered collateral. Sometimes the signature of a qualifying co-signor will be accepted.
A bail bond agent has a legal responsibility to safeguard all collateral. As long as the defendant has not failed to appear before the court, collateral is returned once a case is completed – whether the defendant is found innocent or guilty. A bail agent’s fee however is not returned; this is payment for services rendered regardless of the outcome of the case.
The full name of the defendant and where he’s in custody – you’ll need the city, state and name of the jail. · If you can provide the booking number, this will save valuable time.
If you don’t have it, don’t worry, the bail agent can get it when they contact the jail. Once you know the bail amount, our agent will advise what it will cost to post bond and anything else required to expedite the defendant’s release.
That usually depends on where the defendant is being held. Local police stations generally take an hour, but county jails can range from three – eight hours. Immigration may take up to six hours, and federal facilities two – three.
If you think the defendant is going to flee, contact your bondsman as soon as possible to review what options are available to you. If a defendant fails to appear before the court, he is considered a fugitive and a bench warrant is issued for their arrest. The bail bond agent makes every effort to locate the fugitive and return them to custody. However, if the bail bond agent is unable to locate the fugitive the bail agent must pay the entire bond amount to the court. The bail bond agent can recover the cost by turning to the collateral to reimburse the loss.