Frequently Asked Questions

What is a bail bond?

When someone is arrested on criminal charges, they may be held in jail until their court date, at which time, that person is released or sentenced. The Eighth Amendment of the United States Constitution says that a person is innocent until proven guilty. This is where bail comes in-A bail bond is an insurance policy which guarantees the courts that the person who has a court date set, will show up to all court appearances. The bond protects the state or federal court, in which the defendant must appear. In the meantime, the defendant is able to continue their lives working at their jobs, being home with their families, and fighting their case effectively.

What is a bail agent?

A bail agent is a person who issues bail bonds. They are licensed by the Department of Insurance, and appointed representatives of the surety companies. Bail agents have complete background checks, including finger prints, before becoming licensed.

How much does a bail agent charge?

The bail agent charges approximately 10% of the total amount of the bond set forth by the court. In some cases this amount can be low as 8%. To see if you qualify for an 8% premium, click here.

When is collateral required?

Collateral is required when the defendant of the indemnitor (person bailing out the arrestee) cannot pay the amount of the bail in full. Collateral is required to ensure that the arrestee will show up to court for all hearing. If the defendant does not show up to their court hearings, the bail bond company will use the collateral to pay for the cost of the forfeiture for the full amount of the bail. Collateral may consist of cash, pink slip(s) to an automobile or vessel, or a deed to a house for most cases. Collateral is always returned within 30 days of receiving exoneration paper. This is when the defendant has fulfilled the court obligations.

Are there other costs involved in the bail out process?

Besides the cost of the bond and the premium paid to the bail agent, the person signing for the bail is responsible for all necessary and reasonable expenses the bail agent incurs when handling the transaction at any point in time while the bond is active. These may include, but are not limited to:

  • Fees for another agent to post the bond
  • Reimbursement for long distance phone calls and/or travel expenses
  • Fees associated with a arrestee not showing up to his/her court hearing
  • Costs for a bounty hunter
  • Payment through cash or the sale of the collateral item for the full bail amount for the defendants failure to appear
  • Court costs and attorney fees incurred by the bail company to recover bail amount and other damages associated with the defendant missing the court hearing

How long does it take to bail a person out of jail?

In most cases, a person can be bailed out of jail in less than 1 hour after the booking process is completed. As long as the paperwork is filled out and signed and payment is made or arranged, the bail is posted with the jail and the person is released.

What if I don’t have the money for a bail bond?

There are a few things you can do to make a bail bond possible if you are tight on money. First of all, you may be able to work out a payment plan with your bail bond company. Next, you might be able to find support from other friends or family members and work together to come up with the required amount. You may also request a special bail-reduction hearing and ask the judge to have the bail amount lowered to be more affordable. The amount the judge gives is based on the risk of flight, and whether the defendant will pose a risk to the community. This can also be done during the arraignment (typically the first court hearing.)

What happens if a person does not show up to their court hearings after being bailed out?

When the defendant fails to appear at their pre-set court hearings, the full amount of that bond is payable. In cases where family or friends put up collateral, such as a deed, a car, cash, or property, that person loses the amount of collateral for which the bond is liable. This is why it is very important to ensure that the defendant make every single court hearing until his/her case is finished (Not just the first hearing.)

Is there any other way to get released from Jail besides a bail bond?

A person may sometimes if he/she can prove that he/she is reliable to return back to court on a promise alone; this is known as O.R. (own recognizance). To be released on O.R., the defendant must wait until the first court appearance to ask the judge permission. Eligibility depends on if the defendant: has a job, has family living close by, has lived in the area for many years, has no or few minor criminal records, has shown up to court for previous hearings, and other factors. If the request is granted, the defendant signs a promissory note to return to future court hearings and is released; if the request is denied, then the defendant may ask for a reduced bail amount. This too is sometimes denied and on the contrary, the judge may either increase the bail amount or even deny the arrestee the privilege of bail.

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