Man and male teenager

Juvenile and Adult Bail Bonds

Man and teenagerBail is a contract between an arrested individual and the court in which the individual is tried. Bail allows for the defendant’s release on the terms that he or she place property (most commonly cash) equal to the amount of the bail and attend all required hearings. If the defendant attends all hearings, the court returns the property to the defendant. A bail bond is a way for the defendant to cover the costs of bail without having to cover the entire cost.

While the term “bail bond” is often used interchangeably for criminal court and juvenile court, there are some key differences that can make the bond process more complicated for young offenders.

Adult Bail Bonds

For cases where the defendant is tried as an adult, a bail bond can be used to secure his or her immediate release. Bail bonds are posted by bond agents or bondsmen who act as a surety for the defendant. Bond agents charge a fee typically ranging from 10 – 15% of the bail amount in exchange for their services, based on the law of the state in which the bond agent operates. All-Pro Bail Bonds, servicing California, charges 10% for state bonds and 12% for federal bonds with discounts for qualifying unions, private defense counsel, military and AARP members. In the event of a substantial bail bond, agents may be able to claim security against the assets of the defendant such as a mortgage on a house owned by the defendant.

Entering a bond agreement imposes additional consequences on the defendant if he or she fails to appear in court. In the event of an absence, bond agents are legally allowed to charge the defendant the full face amount of the bail or even bring the defendant to the jurisdiction of the court. Bond agents may also choose to collect on claims against the assets of the defendant for the face value of the bond.

Juvenile Bail Bonds

An individual is tried as a juvenile if he or she is under the age of 18 (16 in some states). Contrary to popular belief, not all states allow the use of juvenile bail. This is due in part to the differences in intent between criminal court and juvenile court: in juvenile court, the focus is more on rehabilitation and reintegration of the juvenile rather than punishment. Instead, the juvenile’s freedom is granted based solely on the decision of the court. A juvenile can, however, be granted bail rights if he or she is transferred to criminal court and tried as an adult.

For states that allow them, juvenile bail has the same restrictions and requirements as adult bail. Juvenile bail bonds may require the parent or legal custodian of the juvenile to sign on his or her behalf, placing the responsibility of ensuring the juvenile’s court appearances on the guardian.

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