Here are some need-to-know tips for defendants and friends/family members of defendants in need of a bail bond:
“Bail” vs. “Bonds”
Though they are used for the same reason, there is a big difference between bailing someone out of jail and getting a bond. Bail is cash, or when a person pays the court directly. A bond, or “surety” bond, is when your friends or family members use a third party (i.e. a bondsman) to front the money for bail.
Bail Bond Collateral
If you are ever in a situation where you need a bail bond, the best way is to sign collateral over to a bondsman. Collateral comes in many different types, of course, and may include jewelry, property, cars, or other assets with a dollar amount. According to Bail Hotline, the best thing for you to do is call the bond agency to see the kind of collateral they accept based on the bail amount.
Once the defendant appears in court, the collateral is returned to the person who signed the bond. You do have to pay a fee for processing to the bond agency, of course. The agency you use will have more specific info on this.
Before you call a bond agency, it’s important for you to have the necessary information ready. This includes the defendant’s full, legal name, where he or she is being held, and the required bail (you can call the jail or courthouse to figure this out).
Bail Isn’t Stagnant
In some circumstances, you may not have the collateral to cover a bail bond. If this happens, some states allow you to request bail to be lowered in a special hearing (or during an arraignment). The catch is that bail is a very unspecific thing. Judges have a lot of freedom when they set bail, especially if a defendant has multiple arrests or is considered a high flight risk. On the other hand, minor crimes usually have a set bail amount.
The Point Of Bail
The entire point of getting a bail bond is to allow a defendant to continue day-to-day life outside of jail and until a trial is resolved. If you have adequate collateral on hand, all you have to pay is a premium (less than 10 percent with most agencies) and make sure a defendant shows up for court. After that, bondsmen will return the collateral and complete the process in a matter of days.
Does Every Defendant Need Bail?
Just because a person is arrested does not mean he or she has bail. In fact, first-time defenders can often be released “on their own recognizance” and walk free. There are stipulations, of course, like whether or not the defendant has a job, has family in the area, and has a clean record.
All said and done, the bail bond process is rather simple as long as you find the right bondsman. In California, Bail Hotline is one such agency that is known for its fair premiums, quick action and excellent service.