When someone gets arrested for a crime, they must wait in jail until bail hearing. At the bail hearing, a bail amount is set by the judge. For the bail hearing, the defendant is taken to the courtroom. There, the defendant must wait until the judge calls their name. The charges will be read by the judge and then he/she will decide whether a bail bond should be set and what the total amount of the bond should be.
If a person is unable to pay the bail amount, they must stay in jail until their court date. However, in this case, you can contact a bail agent to help your loved one get out of jail.
A bail agent requires information like the full name of the person arrested, the jail they are in, their booking number and the charges filed against them. The bail agent will also ask you what the total bail amount is.
If you live near the jail, the bail agent will ask you to meet them at the jail to post the bond. However, if you can’t make it to the jail, the bail agent will likely come to your home to discuss the situation of the case.
Usually, the bail agent charges 10 to 15 percent of the total bail amount. However, this can be higher or lower depending on specific circumstances of the case. For example, if the bond amount is $6,000 and the bail agent charges you at 10 percent premium, you’ll have to pay $600 fees to the bail agent. This fees in non-refundable. This is the payment that allows the release of the defendant and the bail bond agent will keep it. Even if the defendant gets arrested again for violating the conditions set by the court while he/she is on bail, no refund will be given to you. The bail agent may also require you to sign over collateral.
Any physical asset or item owned by you can be the collateral. You are going to use the item or asset for securing the bond. The reason bail bond agent requires you to sign over a collateral is because sometimes the amount of bail is very high. The collateral enables bail bond agents to have a tangible and real item that they can sell if anything goes wrong. With the collateral, bail bond agents can safely post the bond and get the defendant out of jail.
There are a few simple rules for items that are permitted to be used as collateral. The most important rule is that the asset or item must have monetary value. Furthermore, you must have full ownership of the asset. There should not be any pending payments or liens on the asset or item. Another requirement is that the asset must be accepted by the bail bond agency. Some items that are most commonly used as bail collateral include house, cars, and jewelry.
The process of signing over bail collateral is simple. You need to show the items to the bail bond agency. Paperwork must also be shown to prove that you are the owner of the items. Usually, the agency requires the collateral items to total around 150% of the bail bond amount. This is because they want to assure that depreciation or unexpected costs are covered. You’ll then have to hand over the deed or title of the item or asset to the bail bond agent. If the bail collateral item is jewelry, then you can just give it to the bail bond agent. If nothing goes wrong, the bail bond agent will return you the collateral after the settlement of the case. The trial need to end completely with everything settled, the defendant must show up for all court appearances and all charges or fees must be paid to the bail bond agent before the collateral can be returned. If the defendant doesn’t complete the trial, the bail bond agent can seize the collateral.
Posting the Bond
The bail agent posts the bond once the fee has been paid and any collateral has been signed over. After that, the court will order the release of the defendant from jail. The process of bailing a defendant out can take a short time or several hours depending on how many people are in the jail.
After the person has been bailed, they must show up for all court appearances and must meet all the conditions set by the court. Release conditions vary by circumstance of the case and by state, however some of the common conditions that are set by the court include:
1. Limit Travel
The travel of the defendant may be limited by the court and the court may ask them to surrender their passport. Even if the passport of the defendant isn’t taken away, they are commonly forbidden to leave the state until the settlement of the case. A curfew may also be imposed on the defendant depending on the circumstances of the case. Both the court’s and the bail bond agent’s permission is required to remove the travel restrictions.
2. The Witnesses or Victim Should Not Contacted
When the defendant commits a crime against another citizen, then this condition may be imposed by the court. The court may impose such a condition even if the victim doesn’t request them to do so. While the defendant may be tempted to ignore such conditions, they should never go against the order of the court as the consequences can be severe.
3. Get Medical Treatment
If the defendant has a drug problem, the court may order them to attend medical treatment while on bail. If the court orders the defendant to get the treatment, they must attend it as violating such a condition can result in penalties.
All conditions set by the court must be followed. If the defendant doesn’t follow the conditions, the bail may be revoked by the court and the defendant may be put back behind the bars. Any collateral that is signed over by you can also be seized by the bail bond agent if the conditions set by the court are violated.
Sometimes, the bail of the defendant is denied. The bail is granted only if the court is sure that the defendant will show up for the court appearances. If the judge believes that the defendant may not attend the court proceedings or leave the state, the court will likely deny the bail. If the defendant has previously not appeared in scheduled court proceedings, the judge may deny the bail. Other reasons for the denial of the bail may include:
- The crime committed by the defendant is very serious. For example, a defendant facing death penalty or several years of incarceration is mostly denied bail.
- The defendant was already on parole or probations. Judges aren’t sympathetic towards those who get into trouble again and again.
- The person is a threat to other people if he/she remains outside the jail.
The court is responsible for protecting the community and citizens of the state. In determining the suitability of the defendant for bail, specific terms and conditions are imposed by the judge. If any of these conditions are violated, the bail can be revoked. The most common reasons for revocation of the bail include violating court conditions, committing another crime while on bail and not appearing for subsequent court proceedings.
If the defendant doesn’t appear in the court, the bail agent will have to pay the full bail amount. When the defendant doesn’t show up for court proceeding or violates any condition set by the court, the bail bond agent will find the defendant and take them back to jail.
New charges can be filed against the defendant, if they don’t show up for the court proceedings resulting in stiffer punishments and penalties.
But, as long as the defendant complies with the terms and conditions set by the court and shows up for all court proceedings, you should not have anything to worry about. Regardless of whether the defendant is found guilty or innocent, the bond is completed once the court trial is over.
Benefits of Obtaining Bail
1. Job is Not Lost
If a person is arrested and put into jail, they won’t be able to go to work and the boss may fire them for too many absences. A bail bond agent can quickly post the bail and get the defendant out of jail. This may help the defendant keep their job. Maintaining a steady flow of income is important for several reasons. As the court trial progresses, a defendant may be required to pay legal charges and other fees associated with the case. If the defendant doesn’t have a job, he/she won’t be able to afford the expenses of the case.
2. Reduce Family Tension
Having a member of the family charged can create serious tension in the entire family. The tension increases when the family member has to stay in jail. Getting released through a bail bond reduces the tension in the family and allows the accused person to stay with their loved ones. The family doesn’t have to worry about their family member being locked up behind bars.
3. Building a Strong Defense
When a defendant is arrested, they can’t properly build a strong legal defense with their lawyer. The lawyer can only meet them at the jail for a limited time. By getting out on a bail, the defendant can easily visit the office of an attorney and discuss their situation in detail. The defendant will explain the specific circumstances of the case and provide facts that can make their case strong. The defendant can collect more evidence while on bail to build a strong defense.
4. Reputation and Stigma
When a person is charged with a crime, it can affect their whole life. They can lose their respect in the community if they are jailed. Arranging a bail immediately and getting out of the jail can help them maintain their reputation.
What if the Defendant Doesn’t Show Up for the Court Proceedings?
If the defendant doesn’t show up for the court proceedings, you will be at risk of losing all the money you used to get them out on the bail. You’re also going to lose the collateral (if any) you signed over for securing the bond. There are some options you can use to protect yourself from these kinds of issues.
The bail bond agent is usually notified by the court when the defendant doesn’t appear for the court proceedings and the bond gets default. Generally, a grace period is there to make amends, however it depends on the court whether to give time to the defendant. If the court isn’t so lenient, it will issue a bench warrant to arrest the accused. There is often a statutory time period where you can turn in the accused to get your bond out of default status. Usually, this requires bringing the defendant who missed the court proceedings to the law enforcers and filling out paperwork that notifies the return of the person.
If the defendant gets arrested by the police following the bench warrant, you can still request the court to take your bond out of the default status.
You can also hire a bounty hunter to find the accused and hand them to the police. Bounty hunters capture fugitives in return for a monetary reward. You will have to complete the paperwork to remove the default status of your bond after the bounty hunter has returned the accused to the police.
If you are not able to return the defendant to the police within the specified time period, you will lose all the cash and collateral you put up to get your loved one out of the jail and nothing will be returned.
That’s everything you should know about the bail bond process! If you have more questions about the bail bond process, feel free to contact us.