Court appearances can be quite frustrating and overwhelming for both the accused and their families. To add to the trauma, they have to look for money that is demanded by the court to avoid the arrested person from going to jail while waiting for their court appearance.
This is where bail bonds come in. They are used to secure the release of arrested persons. Therefore, alleviating the stress associated with court appearances. But what is a bail bond? How is it different from bail? And how does it work? Well, let’s find out.
What is bail?
Bail is the amount of money that is used to secure the release of the arrested person with one condition that they must appear at the trial. However, not all cases can be given the option of bail. Usually, the options for bail are offered depending on the jurisdiction, the severity of the crime, whether the defendant can attempt to go on the run, etc.
Since the amount of bail can be quite high, the majority of defendants are not financially able to post bail by themselves. This is where a bail bondsman comes in. They will post a bail bond for them.
What is a bail bond?
A bail bond is a form of surety bond offered by surety bond companies through a bail bondsman or bail agent that secures the release of the arrested person from jail. The bail bondsman will charge the arrested person a fee in return for guaranteeing the payment. The fee is usually 10% of the bail amount. There are two types of bail bonds, including a criminal bail bond and civil bail bond. The criminal bail bond is used in criminal cases, while the civil bail bond is used in civil cases.
It is worth mentioning that bail bonds are not common practice worldwide. In fact, it is only available in the US and the Philippines. There are also some states in the USA that you will not find bail bonds, including Massachusetts, Oregon, Kentucky, Illinois, etc.
How do bail bonds work?
If a person is arrested, they can be given an option to post bail. The amount of bail is set by the judge. If the accused person is not able to pay the bail amount, they can ask for help from a bail bondsman in the form of a bail bond. For the defendant to post a bail bond, they are supposed to pay a bail bondsman 10% of the bail amount.
The bail bondsman will then secure the rest of the bail amount in the form of collateral. Once the bail bondsman has posted the bail, it is now a matter of ensuring that the defendant shows up for all the necessary court appearances.
If the defendant doesn’t show up for the court hearings, the bail bond will be forfeited, and the court will require the remaining 90% of the bail to be paid. The bail bondsman will use the arrested person’s collateral, such as a house, jewelry, etc to pay the court the remaining bail amount.
But if the accused does appear for court, the bail bond will be liquefied and the collateral returned to the person who posted it upon the conclusion of the case. The bail agent or bondsman will keep the 10% cash fee as their profit.