Understanding How Bail Bonds Work


Navigating the criminal justice system can often be confusing and frightening. Interactions with it rarely come at the best of times, which makes it all the more difficult to understand and work with its complexities. If you or a loved one have been arrested, it is likely that all you want to do is return some sense of normalcy to your life as you consider your options and work on your legal defense. Unfortunately, even a relatively small bail amount may be difficult to produce on short notice. In these cases, bail bond services may be an option that can work for you.

What Are Bail Bonds?

Just about everyone has heard the term "bail bond" before, but many people do not understand what they are or how they work. A bail bond is simply bail in the form of cash, which is deposited with the court to ensure that a defendant will return for trial as scheduled. Bail bonds are fully refundable and are returned once the accused shows for their scheduled trial date. The purpose of bail is to guarantee that the accused will meet their legal obligations, but in many cases, they can present a serious financial hardship.

What Happens if You Do Not Show for Your Court Date?

Aside from the legal ramifications of missing a court date, failing to show as promised will generally result in the forfeiture of any money used to post bail. Most states provide some period of time after the scheduled court date for the accused to be returned, although this varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. If the defendant is returned, however, it is usually possible to recover your bond money (although the process will not always be straightforward).

What Is a Bail Bondsperson?

A bail bondsperson or bail bond agent is a professional who will post bond in exchange for a non-refundable fee. The fee charged by bail bond agents will vary, but it is often around 10% of the total bail. In many states, the maximum allowable percentage that a bond agent can charge for their services is restricted by law.

When you pay a bail bond agent to post bail for you, they are in essence promising the court that you will return for your scheduled date and using their own money as collateral. Should you fail to appear as promised, bail bond agents will almost always make use of bounty hunters to attempt to apprehend you and return you for your court appearance. 


21 December 2018

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