How does bail work?
- If you have never had to bail someone out of jail, you might not know what a bail bond is and how the bail process works. Keep reading for the basic information about bail bonds, and please contact us at (727) 777-5500 if you need more information.
What is bail?
- Bail is some form of property given to a court to encourage the release of a defendant from jail. This ensures that the defendant returns to court for trial or they will forfeit the bail.
What is a bail bond?
- If the defendant does not have the money or the assets to pay the full amount, they can use the services of a bail bond agent. Cost of bail typically ranges from 10% of the full bail amount but can vary from state to state. In most cases the bond amount is 10%, which means a $10,000 bond would cost $1,000. This fee goes to the bail agent, who then provides the bail bond. The bond acts as insurance that the defendant will show up for all court dates. If the defendant does not show for court, the agent then becomes responsible for the full bond amount.
What is collateral?
- Collateral is used to cover the remaining amount of the required bail as extra assurance that the defendant will be present for required court dates. Collateral can come in the form of property (homes, cars, etc.), investment accounts, or other items of value. Collateral will be returned once the bail bond has been exonerated and the defendant has fulfilled all obligations. If the defendant fails to appear or meet all legal obligations until the case is resolved, the collateral can be sold to cover the bail amount.
Do I get my money back after the case is over?
- The premium you pay to a bail agent is non-refundable. It is the fee for the agent’s services and will not be returned to you.
What information should I have ready for the bail agent?
- A bail agent will likely ask you to provide the following information about the defendant, which you should be able to get by contacting the jail where the person is being held:
1. City, state and name of the person in jail.
2. Defendant’s full name and booking number.
3. Bail amount.
Are some bail agents less expensive than others?
- NO it is 10%, it is illegal for bail agencies to offer you discounted premiums because the premium amount is set by the department of insurance.
Why should I work with a bail agent?
- Besides the fact that obtaining a bail bond is more affordable than paying the full cash amount to the court, bail agents are on your side. They can help you avoid confusion, and they are skilled at getting your friend or loved one released from jail quickly and making sure the person attends court appearances. An experienced, professional bail agent can be one of your most valuable resources during this stressful time.
What happens if the defendant fails to appear?
- If you think the defendant is going to flee, contact your bondsman as soon as possible to review what options are available to you. If a defendant fails to appear before the court, he is considered a fugitive and a bench warrant is issued for their arrest. The bail bond agent makes every effort to locate the fugitive and return them to custody. However, if the bail bond agent is unable to locate the fugitive the bail agent must pay the entire bond amount to the court. The bail bond agent can recover the cost by turning to the collateral to reimburse the loss.