What is bail?
When a person is arrested and sent to jail, they may be released from custody upon payment of a specific amount of money to the court. This is commonly referred to as bail. Bail is refundable provided that the accused attends all of their court dates; in this way, bail ensures that the accused (also known as the defendant) will return to face trial. The right of the defendant to be released through bail is granted by the U.S. Constitution, and in most situations an application for bail is successful.
What is a bail bond?
If someone is not able to pay the entire amount of bail, then they should seek the help of a bail bondsman. Bail bondsmen pay the entire amount of a person’s bail in return for a small fee, typically 10% of the bail itself (though the amount can vary from 8% to 15%)*. This fee is known as a bail bond.The bail bond is given to the court as a guarantee that, once released, the accused will show up for their court appearance. Should they not show up in court on the date they were ordered to (referred to as “skipping bail”), the bondsman forfeits the amount of money put up to secure their release. When this happens, the bondsman will use whatever means necessary to locate the accused and bring them to trial.
What is collateral?
Collateral is a deposit of money or property made to the bonds agent to protect them from loss should the defendant fail to appear in court and the bond is forfeited. Collateral is property put up to cover the remaining amount of the bail not paid by the bondsman. Collateral may be money, property (cars, homes, and businesses), investment accounts, or items of value such as artwork or jewelry. Collateral can come from the defendant or from friends and family. Someone who puts up collateral will be known as a co-signer or indemnitor. They will be required to sign a written contract and the bail agent is required to provide a receipt. When the defendant shows up in court for trial, the bail bond is exonerated (released), the agent no longer has to guarantee bail, and collateral will be returned to its owner. If the defendant fails to show up in court, the bonds agent can use the collateral to cover the bail amount and/or any expenses incurred to return the defendant to custody.
Do I get my money back after a case is over?
After most cases, bail will be returned, but the bail bond will not. The money you pay to a bail bondsmen or agent is the way they are paid for their services and, as such, it is non-refundable.
What do I need to know when calling a bail agent?
A bail bondsman will need to know:
- Defendant’s Name
- Name of Jail
- City and State Where Jail is Located
- Booking Number (Available Through the Jail)
Why should I work with a bail bonds agent?
No one is obligated to work with a bail bonds agent. However, most people do not have the amount of money necessary to post bail for their friend or family member; a bail bondsmen makes it possible to post bail and regain your freedom for a fraction of the total cost. Moreover, bail bonds agents normally have experience with the legal system and can provide advice and guidance to clients. We can make certain that the defendant attends all court appearances, meets all legal obligations and is well-prepared to defend themselves.