We have car insurance, but we hope we will never have to use it. As goes car insurance, so goes the bail bond. They exist for a reason, and should you find yourself in need, a bail bond can normally be secured for roughly 10% of the bond required by the court. In large metropolitan areas, simply asking someone in jail with you will likely lead to discovery of a local bail bondsmen. Some bail bondsmen do a lot of advertising, but if you are not regularly in the market for such services, recollecting this information when needed will likely prove elusive. Most jails will have regular visits from bondsmen. Just like car insurance, they are great to have, should you ever need them.
History of Bonds
The United States Congress instituted the Bail Bond Reform Act in 1966. It states that a person facing trial for a non-capital offense should be released on their own recognizance, a promise-to-appear, or on a personal bond. They also gave judges the right to restrict travel, if flight is suspected. If you cannot pay your bail in-full, a bail bondsmen is the person you hire to put up a fee for your release. They charge usually around 10% of the amount that is required to post bail. This will allow you to go free until your court date. A bond is simply a guarantee of appearance at a future court date.
How Bonds Work
If you have enough cash that is the best way to post bail. In the event you use cash, those funds are held by the court until the court process is completed. At this time you will get your money back, less any fees owed. If you miss a court date, all money will be forfeited. At times a bond can exceed what a person has available in liquid assets. This is when a bail bondsman will be necessary. They will be able to get you released with 10% of the bond being paid. In the event you don’t have enough cash to cover the 10% requirement, a bail bondsman can also take out a security against your assets to cover bail. Depending on the amount of bail bond, sometimes family members will sign over assets to post bond if the defendant is unable to do so. Sometimes financing is available as a last alternative, so you should ask as this might be an option with some bondsmen.
Failure to Appear
Bail bondsmen have to recover the loss if you do not show up for court. They will hire bounty hunters to find you. A bondsman also has the right to sue to recover the funds they paid to get you out of jail. This is where whatever assets were used to secure the bond come into question. They can legally claim the assets that were put up to secure your bond.
Bail bondsmen provide an invaluable service. It is a nice option to have, should you need it, but you have to make your court dates, or more problems will quickly develop.