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What are Bail Bonds?

A bail bond is considered a written promise that the defendant and surety sign in order to ensure that the defendant will appear in court on required time and date while the court sets the amount of bail. Paying bail is a difficult process if you cannot afford it. In that case, you will need a bond agent.

The Role of the Bail Bond Company

When someone gets arrested, they must be held in jail until the time that they have to appear in court. This is where the bail comes in. The judge sets the bail as the amount of money that ensures the court of the person in jail. In case the bail is unaffordable, the defendant may seek the help of a surety bond company that will lend to the defendant and will post the bail to the court but will need a small down payment from the defendant for the bail amount itself.

The Importance of Collateral

The use of bonds for bail usually requires the defendant to pay the surety 10% of the bond. If the bail is set at $10,000, the accused is expected to pay $1,000. The rest of the bail amount will be through collateral payment. The collateral should cover 90% of the bond. If the defendant shows up as the court requires, the court dissolves the bail bond when the case is concluded.

Some US states allow bail bonds but not bail bond agents. In Illinois, Oregon, Wisconsin, and Kentucky, you must make the 10% payment of the bond to the court and not to an agent. The bail bond is there to prevent abusing the process of the appeal.

Bail Refund

Bail is not a punishment. Thus, someone who has posted bail is allowed to have the money back if he complies with all the requirements of the court regarding the term and conditions of the bail. Either the bail is refunded, or it is forfeited. If the defendant is temporarily released from custody on bail, the bail will be refunded when the case is concluded. However, it still always depends on the kind of bail that was used.

If the defendant used a property bond, the court is expected to release the lien specific to that property. Just like the bail payment release, the release of the lien would take several weeks to conclude. With federal courts, the bail is not released right away after the criminal case is concluded since there is a need to file a petition for its release.

Bail Forfeiture

In case the defendant posts bail and is consequently released from custody but fails to appear in court even if the court required it, the bail amount is forfeited. Forfeiture is also possible if the defendant fails to comply with the imposed conditions of the court during the time that the bail was granted.

In case a property bond was availed and the defendant was absent from the required days in court, the court has the right to foreclose the property or may have the option to repossess it. That means saying goodbye to the collateral, and the only way to recover it at the auction.

Bail Violations and Solutions

In case the defendant does not appear in court, then he forfeits the bail, it is still possible for the court to reinstate the bail and return bail that has been paid already. In any case, the defendant can make a petition so that the court would reinstate bail or would not forfeit it. In cases of non-appearance, the defendant must show proof of a medical emergency or any other valid reason.

In a case where a defendant used the services of a bail bond agent when he previously posted bail, the defendant is obliged to pay the bondsman’s fee and, in most cases, may have to entrust collateral or opt to sign a security agreement. The bond agent will return the collateral only if the defendant complies with the conditions of the bond. However, the bond agent is expected to keep his fee, which is 10% to 15% of the total bail amount.

If a defendant had used the services of a bond agent but had failed to appear in court, the bail term violation will make the bond agent take drastic measures. The agent may take the person into custody or may employ bounty hunters who have the right to arrest the defendant.

Some Final Words

Not all defendants can afford the bail set by the court for their criminal cases. That is why there is a bail bond agent to handle this. The bail bond company pays the court the whole bond on the condition that 10% is paid by the defendant to the agent, that he should sign the bail bond, and that 90% is handled by collateral. Seek the appropriate legal advice if you need bail bonds.