How Bail Bonds Work

“You’re under arrest,” isn’t something anyone wants to hear, whether or not you are innocent.  Though for the most part we want our justice system to move swiftly, there are times when it’s a little too fast for comfort.  If you’ve been arrested, for whatever reason, your number one priority is getting released as quickly as possible!  Finding representation quickly and having a bondsman on tap can be your lifeline to an otherwise terrifying experience.

Setting the Bail

At your hearing, after you enter a plea, you could be released on your own recognizance (ROR) until your court date.  Depending on the charges, and severity of the alleged crime, another choice is that the Judge will set bail.  If you have the cash to post the bond yourself, it saves you the bond fee and you will get the entire amount back on your court date after you appear.  Without the necessary funds on hand the easiest “get out of jail card” is for you or a friend or family member to contact a bail bondsman.

How Bail Bonds Work?

Benefits of Posting Bond

If bail is set and you cannot pay, you will absolutely be detained until your day in court.  If bail is posted and you are released, you gain the opportunity to meet with and acquire an attorney of your choice and means.  Not only is it a tremendous relief of stress for you but also for your family.  Release means you can return to your home and, more importantly, get back to work; losing income on top of sitting in a jail cell can be emotionally and financially devastating.  Though the premium for a bond is 10% of the total bail, it is a small price to pay for your freedom – not to mention the relief that can come from having a professional who knows the ropes handling your release.

What the Bondsman Needs to Know

Whether you are calling a bondsman from jail, or have asked a friend or family member to do so, be prepared to answer several key questions; where exactly you are being held, how long you have lived at your current address, where you are employed, what the charges are and when you were arrested.  For the co-signer, the bail agency will need to know how long they have known you, are they working (and how long at their current employer), and do they own a home or property.

Indemnifying the Bond

Usually a co-signer is needed to guarantee the bond.  By arranging the bond for a defendant and signing the paperwork, your co-signer would become liable for you appearing in court as directed; meaning they would be responsible to pay the full amount of the bond if you failed to appear for any reason.

Usually collateral must be given to ensure the entire bond amount can actually be paid if necessary.  Collateral is anything of value and may be in the form of additional cash, property, jewelry, etc.  The collateral is returned after complete resolution of the case and all premiums due are paid – generally upon discharge or exoneration of the bond.

How Much Time Does it Take for Defendant’s Release?

Bond paperwork may take as little as an hour, and your release can be anywhere from 30 minutes to 48 hours; the times vary from jail to jail and state to state.  If you’re using a bail bondsman, it’s a pretty safe bet your release will be as fast as it can possibly be accomplished.

Failure to Appear

If you do not appear in court on the date and time instructed, you are considered a fugitive and a bench warrant will be issued.  A bench warrant is a type of arrest warrant issued by the court when someone fails to comply with a court order or requirement.  It literally gives law enforcement the authority to pick you up, and bring you before the judge’s bench to respond to the charges.  If you obtained your release via a bondsman, the bail agency is usually given authorization to arrest you and will enlist the help of your co-signer in doing so.

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