For many people, the only thing they know about bail bond services is what they see on television. Shows like “Dog—The Bounty Hunter” portray bail bonds a bit differently than what usually happens. If you use the services of a bail bond agent and you attend your court hearings, you will not likely see the bail bond agent after you are released from jail.
Options for Release from Jail
There are three basic options for someone to be released from jail. The first is a release on personal recognizance. The county or law enforcement agency administer a pre-trial release program. Defendants go through an interview with someone from the program and a recommendation is made to the judge on whether the defendant should be released without any money paid to the court to guarantee he or she returns to court. The interview is frequently completed over the phone, and there is little done to verify the information given by the defendant. When no type of bond is posted, the defendant isn’t out any money if he or she chooses not to go to court.
In order to be released from jail on the next type of bail – a cash bail – the full amount of the bail must be paid to the jail or the court. This cash is held until the defendant’s case is over. If the defendant does not appear at all court hearings until his or her case is complete, the cash bail is forfeited. As you can imagine, a cash bail is a good incentive for a defendant to return to court on all scheduled court dates.
Finally, a surety bond is an alternative to a cash bond. When a surety bond is posted, it means that a bail bond company has guaranteed the court that you will attend all of your hearings. If the defendant does not appear in court as ordered or is not returned to jail by the bail bond company, the bail bond company will pay the full amount of the bond to the court. The non-refundable fee for most surety bonds is 10 percent of the bond. In other words, for a $1,000 bond, $100 is due to the bail bond company. In many cases, collateral is required, especially for higher bonds. A co-signer is also often required. The co-signer would be responsible for the full value of the bond to the bail bond company if the defendant doesn’t appear.
Advantages of Using the Services of a Bail Bond Agent
Using the services of a bail bond agent has many advantages over simply paying bail to the court. Some of these advantages include:
It can be difficult to come up with the full amount of the bond to pay the court. Defendants often end up borrowing from family, friends or even their employers. For a $10,000 bond for example, it is much easier to come up with $1,000 to pay the bail bond agent instead of the full bond amount to pay the court.
Locating Friends and Family Who Are in Jail
After an arrest, a defendant usually just wants to call a family member or friend to help get him or her out of jail. The person who was called just wants more information. A good place to start is to call a bail bond company. The agent can find out the information you need and if a surety bond is allowed. You can learn where the person is being held, what his or her bond amount is and more. This is much better than trying to call local jails to find out where the arrest occurred.
If you find out that you have an active warrant, calling a bail bond company is certainly a good idea. For example, the bondsman can find out the information about the warrant. This information can include what jurisdiction the charge is from, what the charge is and what the bond amount is. In many cases, the bail bond agent can meet you at the police department or the sheriff’s office. While you are being booked, the agent can begin the paperwork so that you can be released as soon as possible.
These are just a few of the advantages to using the services of a bail bond company. It’s important to understand how bail works and what your options are for getting out of jail, if there are any. After you are released, the next call you make should probably be to your attorney.