The judicial system in the United States operates under the credo of ‘innocent until proven guilty,’ which means that individuals accused of a crime have the right to demand their release from jail until their court trial. Obtaining a bond, also known as a bail bond, with the assistance of a local bail bondsman is one common way to accomplish this.
Let’s explore the nuances of how someone can secure a bond to leave jail, illuminating the function of bail bondsmen and the numerous facets of bail bonds.
What is a Bail Bond?
Before going through the procedure of getting one, it’s important to comprehend what are bail bonds. A bail bond is a financial guarantee that ensures the accused person’s presence in the court for their trial. Moreover, it enables people to get their release from custody while their case is ongoing, provided they follow the legal guidelines set by the court.
What’s The Cost of Obtaining a Bail Bond?
The cost varies depending on the bail amount and the bail bondsman’s fee. The charges are often a proportion of the total bail amount, usually between 10% and 15%. In addition, this is a non-refundable fee and operates as the bondsman’s recompense for taking the risk.
What Does A Bail Bondsman Do?
Bail bondsmen are professionals who help in the process of getting a bond to get out of jail. These qualified specialists serve as a bridge between the court and the accused. Further, these personnel are in charge of:
- Guaranteeing the defendant’s appearance in court
- Posting the required bail amount on their behalf
- Making sure the person abides by all court-imposed conditions
How Can You Obtain A Bail Bond?
Now, let’s examine the step-by-step process for how someone can get a bond to confirm their release from jail:
The process begins with an individual’s arrest. Initially, the suspect is detained and taken into custody by law enforcement authorities.
The next step is for the detained person to go through the booking process, which involves:
- Collecting Personal Data
- Capturing Fingerprints
- Running Background Checks
Initial Court Appearance
Following the booking procedure, the suspect comes to court for the first time when the judge sets the bail amount. Plus, it depends on the extent and severity of the offense and the possibility that the prisoner may flee.
Contacting a Bail Bondsman
Additionally, the suspect or their family typically gets in touch with a bail bondsman to get a bail bond. For that, the following personal details are required:
- The defendant’s name
- The location of the jail
- The amount of bail
Submission and Approval
The defendant or their family completes an application. The bail bondsman examines the application and determines the level of risk. Further, he agrees to post the bail on the person’s behalf.
Collateral and Fees
In most of the cases, the accused or his family is asked to post a bond or pay a fee to the bondsman. Besides, if they are unable to appear in court, this collateral serves as a security.
Finally, the bondsman posts the bail, followed by the person’s release, once all the proper paperwork is completed and money or collateral is provided.
Types of Bail Bonds
Bail bonds come in a variety of forms, each with its specifications and limitations. Further, here are the 3 common types:
- Cash Bonds
In this case, the appellant or his family pays the whole bail sum in cash or with a certified cheque to the court. Further, the money gets refunded when the defendant appears in court as required and on time, followed by deductions from fees or fines.
- Surety Bonds
The most typical kind of bond is a surety bond, which involves a professional bondsman. In exchange for a non-refundable fee (usually a portion of the bail money), the bondsman agrees to pay the full bail if the suspect doesn’t show up for court.
- Property Bonds
Moreover, defendants may occasionally use property like real estate or other assets as security for their bail. If the person fails to show up for court, the court may put a lien on the property.
Conditions of Release
When a suspect is granted bail, the court will set conditions for their release. These can involve:
- Appearing at all court proceedings
- Refraining from getting in touch with witnesses or victims
- Abiding by any travel restrictions, etc.
(Note: The bail bonds may be canceled if these requirements are not followed.)
The Role of Bail Bondsmen in Ensuring Appearance
Bail bondsmen have a vested interest in ensuring that the person appears in court as required. They may use a variety of strategies, including bounty hunters and private investigators, to track down and apprehend suspects who attempt to run.
Release on Recognizance (ROR)
If the person is released on their own recognizance, they do not need to post bail or work with a bail bondsman. Normally, people who get ROR releases frequently have the following:
- Minimal Fleeing Risk
- Strong Community Presence
Bail Bond Process for Federal Crimes
In comparison to state cases, the procedure for securing a bail bond for federal offenses is slightly different. Moreover, federal bail bonds are normally set during the defendant’s initial court appearance and may need a co-signer or collateral.
That being said, securing a bond to get out of jail is a fundamental aspect of the American criminal justice system. Accused can improve their chances of a successful pre-trial release by complying with the court’s requirements and meeting their duties to the bail bondsman.