What is a Bail Bond?
A bail bond is money paid to a court as a guarantee that a defendant will return to court for trial without keeping them in jail until their hearing. However, there is more to bail and bail bonds than this simple summary.
What is Bail?
- A bail is essentially a refundable monetary arrangement which is deposited in the court, it acts as an insurance between the court and the defendant.
- This deposit is used as a collateral to ensure the defendant will return to court for trial or any applicable court proceedings.
- This bail amount is reimbursed by the court, if the defendant shows up for court, in the opposite circumstance the court keeps the deposit or collateral and a warrant is issued for an arrest.
What is a Bail Bond?
- In many instances a bail is set to very high amount, if the defendant can afford to pay for the bail with their personal finance they can choose to do so.
- In situations where the defendant cannot pay for the bail through their personal finances or friends and family, a bail bond company puts up the bail on behalf of the defendant for a fee.
- This initial fee is not refundable, even if the case is thrown out after the suspect posts a bail. If the accused flees, the bond agency must pay the court.
What is a Bail bonding Company?
- Sometimes court proceedings can take weeks or months, so mostly people would not want to put their daily activities on hold, waiting on the court dates, for example to get back to work or take care of their children.
- Usually as the bail is set to very high amount, so a Bail Bonding Company , acting for the defendant, will arrange with the court to have a suspect released from jail waiting on the trial in exchange for money or collateral, which may be cash, assets, or a bond.
- Because there is risk involved in bailing someone out of jail, Bail bonding Companies also usually require collateral. Collateral can be anything of value that the person who hires the Bail bonding Company owns. This collateral is used to guarantee that the defendant will show up for their court date. This fee is usually 15% of the bail amount
Who is a Bail Bondsman
- A bail bondsman is any person, agency or corporation that will act as a surety and pledge money or property as bail for the appearance of a defendant in court. The first modern bail bonds business in the U.S. was established by Peter P. McDonough in San Francisco in 1898
- If the defendant fails to appear in court, the bail bondsman is allowed by law or contractual arrangement to bring the defendant to the jurisdiction of the court in order to recover the money paid out under the bond, usually through the use of a bounty hunter.
Types Of Bail Bonds
Most people don’t know that there are actually a variety of bonds that can secure your release from jail, and defendants need to pursue different options depending on their specific situations.
Cash bail is exactly what it sounds like, allowing those in jail to get out with a cash payment. In some instances, cash bail can also be covered by cashier’s checks or credit cards, though in most instances a corrections department will only accept cash.
When you don’t have the cash to bail yourself out, you’ll need help from a bail bondsman. The first, and most common, type of bail a bondsman will offer is a surety bond. This type of bond is secured by paying 15 percent of bail amount to your bondsman while also promising to show up to your court dates. Once you pay the 15 percent, the bondsman will cover the rest of your bail, allowing you to return home to your friends and family. Many bail bonds agencies are also flexible when helping you secure your surety bond, providing flexible payment plans that meet your needs.
Though they are not accepted in all states, property bonds are occasionally used in California. With a property bond, the full rights to your property are used as collateral for your release. Though many different types of property can be used, real estate is most common. Property bonds can be useful if you don’t have the cash on hand to secure bail, but they take time to obtain. With cash bonds and surety bonds, you can be released from jail within a couple hours at the most. But a property bond is handled directly with the court, and requires an assessment of your property’s value as well as a court hearing to confirm the bond agreement, meaning it can take a few weeks to secure.
Immigration Bail Bond
Immigration bail bonds are special bonds used for undocumented immigrants in the United States. They have differing criteria based on the immigrant’s legal status in the country, and can be pretty difficult to secure. As such, you’ll want to hire a bail bondsman experienced with immigration bonds, and perhaps consider finding a lawyer for help as well. Thankfully, the team at Armstrong Bail Bonds are experts with these bonds, and have crafted a guide to immigration bail bonds to help you understand these often confusing bonds.
Federal Bail Bond
If you’ve been jailed for a federal crime you’ll need a federal bail bond in order to secure your release. These bonds can be obtained by using both cash and property, and do not require a bail bondsman. Instead, they are handled directly by the court, just like property bonds.
If you’ve been arrested, your best hope is to receive a citation release. These types of bail bonds require no cash or property transaction between you and the court system. A citation release is provided when the arresting officer does not take the suspect to the the local police station, deciding instead to give them a citation that requires their appearance in court on a specific date. Citation releases are usually issued for minor offenses, like traffic violations. And issuing of a citation release is entirely up to the discretion of the arresting officer, and if they decide to take you into custody you’ll need to secure another form of bail bond, even if it’s for a minor crime.
Personal Recognizance Release
A personal recognizance release is a similar form of bail to the citation release. In this case, you will be released from custody after signing paperwork agreeing to appear before a judge for your court date. You will not be charged for this form of bail, though there are fines if you fail to appear for your court date. Recognizance releases are also issued based on the discretion of your arresting officer, though you can fight for them in court. However, the cost of hiring a lawyer to ensure your recognizance release can actually be more expensive than securing a surety bond from a bail bondsman.