What are bail bonds?
Bail bonds allow a defendant to be released from jail while charges are pending. This agreement between the defendant and his or her co-signer, bail bondsman and justice system promises that the defendant will be present at all future court hearings.
Is there a fee required?
Each state has their own set of requirements for bail bonds. For example, California requires a 10 percent premium of the total amount of the bail that has been set. So in California, if the bail has been set at 5,000 dollars, then the defendant will be required to pay 500 dollars. There may be circumstances that will lower this premium amount, depending on the agency where the bail bond originates.
Do I need collateral?
In many cases, collateral is not necessary. In cases where it is required, it is usually in the form of either cash or real estate. Many agencies will also accept the title of a vehicle or other item of substantial value as collateral. A promissory note combined with an indemnity agreement will be required to ensure that the full amount of the bail bond is repaid in the event of forfeiture.
What if the defendant misses court?
If the defendant misses a court date, the bail bond will be automatically forfeited. There is generally a period of time that is allowed for the defendant to be found and returned to the courts. In the event of blatant disregard of the court by the defendant, the full amount of bail may be due to keep him or her out of jail. Other costs, such as those incurred for locating the defendant or the hiring of bail investigators will also be due.
Where does the co-signers responsibility lie?
Single or multiple co-signers may be used to help the defendant meet their bail. Co-signers will be required to fulfill the entire amount of the bond in the event of the worst-case scenario and the defendant skips bail and leaves the jurisdiction. In the event that this happens, the co-signers will also be held liable for assisting the agency in finding the defendant as well as repaying any costs that are incurred while trying to locate the defendant.
Will I get my money back?
The premium amount is the fee for the agency and is not refundable. Once the defendant meets the needs of the court system, any collateral is returned.