People get in trouble with the law from time to time. Sometimes, things happen that are beyond our control. At The Firm Bail Bonds, we want you to know that we’re here to help you. That’s why we want you to understand what bail bonds are and how bail bonds downtown can assist you.
Citizens who cannot afford bail and spend their time awaiting trial in jail tend to receive harsher sentencing. That’s why bail bonds exist. A bail bond is essentially a loan. The accused’s family or friend goes to a bondsman (the lender) and pays them either a small percentage of the set bail or offers collateral. The bondsman then pays the entire bail amount to the court.
Understanding how bail bonds work is very important because you need to know that you have options should you or your loved one is arrested. Here are a few important things to know about bail bonds.
A bail and a bond, though often used interchangeably, are not one in the same. In short, bail is the money the accused must pay to get out of jail. A bond is the written agreement for the defendant to appear in court. A bond is usually posted on the accused’s behalf by a bond agent.
After the accused is arrested a court officer, usually a judge, will either set a bail amount with conditions or deny bail to the defendant. Bail is the fee that the court charges for the release of the accused. The court sets the bail price and the accused, his/her lawyer, family member or friend pays the bail for release. Unfortunately, bail can be quite expensive. People often turn to bail bond agents for help.
A bond agent is the private business that citizens go to for a loan when the bail is too expensive to cover on their own. Bond agents will post the full amount of bail on the defendant’s behalf. If the defendant’s bail is set to $10,000 the bond agent will charge a nonrefundable fee of $1,000 to post the full amount of bail.
If the defendant fails to appear in court, (called forfeiture) as agreed upon in the bond agreement, the agent does not get the $9,000 ($10,000 sans the $1,000 the defendant paid). The person who hired the bond agent will then have to pay the agent for the outstanding amount.(This will not take place as of yet)
A forfeiture occurs when a defendant fails to appear in court. If a defendant misses a court date, a bench warrant is issued for their arrest. It is possible in many cases that the bail bond may be “reinstated” by the defendant working with The Firm Bail Bonds to report back to the court, which allows the court to set a new trial date for the defendant.
A summary judgment is issued by the court if, following a bail bond forfeiture, the deadline for reinstating the bond or returning the defendant to custody has passed. Upon issuance of a summary judgment, the full bail amount must be paid.
Not all states have bail bond agents.
Because bail bond agencies are private businesses, they may not be available in your state. States that do not have bail bonds include Maine, Oregon, Wisconsin, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Nebraska, Illinois, and Washington D.C. If you live in a state that does not allow for bail bond agencies, then, should you or your loved one be arrested, you will have to pay the full amount of the bail in cash.
There are different types of bail bondsmen.
A general or surety bondsman is licensed by their respective state. A federal bondsman is licensed by the federal government. An immigration bondsman is federally licensed to secure the release of someone from an immigration detention facility.
Federal bonds guarantee that defendants will comply to all conditions agreed upon for his/her bail. These conditions may include drug testing and limited travel or no travel. Federal bonds tend to be more expensive because of the high risk of flight.
Bail is not guaranteed.
The Eighth Amendment says “Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishment inflicted.” It does not, however, require courts to set bail at all. Whether or not a defendant receives bail is at the discretion of the court.
At The Firm Bail Bonds we want you to have all the information you need because we know the importance of taking care of our loved ones. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact us.