If a person is under suspicion for the commission of a crime, the most probable thing that will happen is that they will be arrested. Once the police arrest a suspect, they are processed and then sent to jail to await their trial. Trials do not happen immediately after an arrest, and so, the law allows certain offenders to be freed on bail bonds or personal recognizance, awaiting their trial. However, the judge can only allow four kinds of releases:
- A release on cash bail, whereby the offender is expected to post money for their total amount of bond with the jail. The amount of money, in this case, is determined by the nature of the offense committed
- A release by the court using your asset as collateral
- A release by the help of a bail bond company
- Release by personal recognizance, without being required to pay bond or post bail
Unfortunately, the bail amount set by the court is usually high, making it difficult for most defendants to raise the full amount and secure their release. That is why the help of bail bond companies are there, popularly known as the bail bondsman.
A bail bondsman is, therefore, an agent or company that agrees to make payment for the total amount of a defendant’s bail to the court, once the offender fails to show up in court on the day of their trial. The bail bondsman makes it easy for defendants who are unable to raise enough money for their bail to enjoy a release ahead of their trial, to carry on with their life before the court determines their fate. However, the bail bondsman will only agree to post your bail on condition that you will honor all your court dates without fail.
What Does the Bail Bondsman Need?
If your loved one has been sent to jail awaiting trial, the first thing you should do is determine their bail amount. This is usually set by the judge on their first appearance in court after arrest, or a court predetermines it. Once you know the bail amount, seek to find the location of your loved one and the jail where they have been held. You will also need their full names as well as their booking number, as this is the information the bail bondsman will rely on to post their bail. With this information, the bail bondsman will know the full amount they will be required to pay in court and the person whose release they will be securing.
The Process of Getting Released through a Bail Bondsman
If you want to engage the services of a bail bonds company, the first thing you do is getting in touch with them. There are several bail bonds companies and agents available today; therefore, you have to choose the right one for your needs. During the first call, the bail bonds agent who will be assigned to your case will discuss with you the pricing options. If you agree, the agent will then give a court guarantee for it to release your loved one. You will not need to pay more to the bail bond agent, provided the defendant honors their court dates without fail.
Note that in the event the defendant fails to honor their court date, the court will forfeit the bail. The bail bondsman is allowed by the court to find the offender and surrender them to court. The bail bondsman will also expect payment of the total amount of bail by the offender or friends and family members that signed the bond. If the family used security to secure the bail, they might lose the asset that was used as collateral
Issues Facing Bail Bonding
Bail bonding is a good thing as it allows offenders to enjoy an earlier release from jail as they await trial. It ensures that people who are under suspicion of committing a crime are carrying on with their lives until the determination of their case. However, the defendant or their family/friends will have to pay a premium, which is nonrefundable, before the bail bondsman can secure their release from jail. The amount is usually 10% of the total amount of bail set by the court.
The other issue facing bail bonding is the requirement for the defendant or their family/friends to provide collateral for their bail bonds as a security for the whole amount of bond.
For these reasons, there is a call to eliminate bail bonding. In its place, we could have a universal court deposit system through which defendants can make a 10% deposit of their total bond to the court. Once the trial is over, the court can refund this amount less a manageable administrative fee.
Understanding the Bail System
No one wants to spend additional days and nights in jail when they can be bailed out. However, the bail process can be challenging, especially if you don’t have prior experience or you don’t know who to talk to. That is where a bail bondsman comes in. Your bail bonds agent should be efficient and easily accessible since most times we cannot anticipate an arrest.