Young Couple with a Bail Bondsman

Bail Bonds Q&A

All-Pro Logo with phone numberWhen an individual is arrested and charged with a crime, they are taken into police custody where they will be fingerprinted and booked. After the inmate is booked into custody, they will be given bail or denied the opportunity for bail depending on the severity of the crimes and their criminal record. Some accused offenders may have to wait to see a judge at their arraignment before they can ask for bail.

Once they are given the bail amount, they must post to be released from custody. They can either post the bail amount in full with the court, or contact a bail bond agent to have a bond posted. Most will elect to post a bail bond because they must only come up with 10 percent of the bail amount to cover the cost of the bond. Many individuals who are applying for bail bonds have no experience with the bail process. Here are some answers to frequently asked questions that you may find helpful and informative:

1. What is a Bail Bond and How Does it Differ From Cash Bail?

Cash bail and a bail bond are two different things. Cash bail can be paid in cash or with credit directly to the court. When a defendant chooses to post bail in the form of “cash”, they will pay the entire amount of bail that has been set by the courts. They may receive this amount back when they appear in court after the case is closed.

A bail bond can be used in place of paying cash or credit when cash bail is not required. A bail bond is a surety bond written in the penal sum. This bond is a promise that the defendant will appear to all of their court dates. The bonding agent promises the court that the defendant will not flee and the defendant promises the agent that they will appear or fugitive recovery teams will be sent to take the fugitive back into custody. Only 10 percent of the bail amount must be paid to post a bond because it is only a promise. If the defendant fails to appear, the sum of the bond will be forfeited by the bondsman.

2. What happens if the case is closed once the bail has been posted?

The payment made to the bondsman is for services and will not be returned to you even if the case is dropped. If the case is closed, you no longer have an obligation to appear in court and your duties to the bondsman are no longer valid. If you have arranged a payment plan, you still need to complete paying off the bondsman because you were bailed out of jail.

3. How is the Bail Amount Set?

The bondsman has nothing to do with the bail amount that a defendant must pay to be released. Most defendants are given a bail amount based on the Uniform Bail Schedule in their county. If the predetermined bail amount is not given, the judge will look closely at your case and criminal record to set your bail at arraignment. A bondsman can only begin working with you when bail has been set.

4. What happens when a defendant does not post bail?

Defendants can sit in jail and wait for court rather than posting bail. They have the right to ask for a release on their own recognizance or to have their bail reduced. If they are not granted either, they will stay in custody until they start trial or they reach a plea deal and satisfy their sentencing.

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