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What is a Bail Bond?

When someone is accused of a crime, he or she will need to stay in custody until a sentence is passed. However, the court can set a bail amount for the release of the defendant.

If the defendant is able to post bail, he or she will be released but will be required to make appearances at the court on scheduled dates.

Unfortunately, bail amounts are high and some people are unable to provide the amount.

This is where bail bonds come in. A bail bond is a signed document that indicates that the defendant will appear before the court on all scheduled dates.

This document is signed by the defendant and a surety.

 

Types of Bail

There are many types of Bail. Some of them may not be available in certain states and some may be used more often than others.

 

  1. Cash Bails

Cash bails are the most popular and simplest form of Bail. When the court sets the amount for the bail, and the defendant posts the bail, he or she will be released. Sometimes, a relative or friend may also post bail on behalf of the defendant.

 

 

  1. Surety bonds

This is used when the defendant cannot afford bail. Usually, a relative or the defendant will contact a surety company.

A bail bondsman or bail agent from the company will pledge to pay the full bail amount if the defendant does not turn up at court on the scheduled dates.

In return, the defendant will pay the surety company 10% of the bail amount. The bail bondsman also makes sure that the defendant will appear before the court on all scheduled dates.

 

 

  1. Property bond

If the defendant is unable to pay the amount in cash, he or she can use a property to post bail. The value of the property should be equal to the bail amount.

If the defendant does not show up at the court on the scheduled dates, the court can liquidate the property to pay the bail amount.

 

 

  1. Personal recognizance

A judge can also decide to reveal someone on bail due to his or her own recognizance. That means the judge will be responsible if the defendant does not appear before the court on all scheduled dates.

This option can only be used if the crime the defendant is accused of is non-violent. This can also be allowed when the defendant is not considered a danger to others or is a minor.

This type of Bail is also applicable if the defendant is a flight risk. That means, he or she cannot flee from the country.

 

How Do Bail Bonds Work?

When a defendant is unable to afford the bail amount, he or she can decide to contact a bail bondsman. Before you contact a bail agent, you should know the bail amount, the city, state, and name of the jail in which the defendant is being held.

The bail agent will ensure that the defendant is released on bail. The bail agent will charge 10% of the bail amount as fees. This amount is not refundable.

The bail bondsman will also take properties as collateral from the defendant and the defendant’s relatives and friends. This asset should be equal to the remaining bail amount.

The bail bondsman will ensure that the defendant comes to court on all the dates scheduled for court.

 

If the defendant does not come to court, the bail agent can hire a bounty hunter to look for the defendant. Unfortunately, some states do not allow bail agents to use bounty hunters.

The bail agent can also use the properties they received from the defendant to cover their lost expenditure.

 

What is a Bail Schedule?

This is the amount of money that is charged for bail for a crime in a jurisdiction. Bail schedules vary by jurisdiction. State laws determine bail schedules and also determine if a defendant should be released on bail or not.

It also determines the time that is appropriate to release a person on bail. Some defendants can be released on bail right after booking while others will need to wait after a bail hearing.

 

Judges can also make decisions with regards to bail schedules. It is noteworthy to mention that federal courts do not have bail schedules. The court decides the bail amounts.

 

Bail Hearings

Bail Hearings are held by courts to determine the bail amounts that should be taken for a specific case. The court can also decide to deny bail after a bail hearing.

Certain factors influence court decisions when it comes to deciding bail amounts or bail possibilities at bail Hearings.

They include the following:

  1. Community Connections

A defendant with a strong family connection is less likely to flee. Someone who owns a local business or someone whose entire family lives in that community will not want to flee from his or her family. Hence, they are more likely to get a low bail amount.

 

  1. Family Obligations

People who are responsible for their families are less likely to flee. People with higher family obligations are usually charged lower bail amounts.

 

  1. Criminal and court history

People who have criminal histories are usually charged higher bail amounts. Especially if they failed to appear before the court on at least one occasion. People without criminal histories are charged with lower bail amounts.

 

  1. Income and assets

Income and assets also influence bail amounts. People with higher incomes are charged higher bail amounts because a low amount is insignificant to them. If the amount is insignificant to them, they may decide not to appear before the court.

 

  1. Type of crime

Serious crimes attract higher bail amounts. Someone who has been charged with murder can be charged millions of dollars as bail while a person charged with minor theft can be $1000 or less.

 

  1. Public safety

A defendant can be denied bail if the court believes that he or she poses a risk to public safety.

Bail Conditions

People who are released on bail are restricted. There are certain conditions that they must abide by.

They include the following.

 

  1. Pretrial check-ins

Here, pretrial officers monitor the defendants to make sure that they are complying to the bail conditions that have been set for them.

 

  1. Employment

Defendants are expected to maintain employment while on bail. Even unemployed defendants are sometimes asked to get employment while on bail.

 

  1. No contact orders

Defendants who have been accused of causing harm or threatening to harm a victim will have no contact orders imposed on them. For instance, if the defendant has been accused of domestic violence, stalking, and other similar crimes will be asked not to have any contact with the victim.

 

  1. Travel restrictions

People who have been granted bails are usually not allowed to travel. Unless the court allows it.

 

 

 

  1. Substance abuse

Defendants who have been accused of crimes related to substance abuse will also be restricted from using drugs. Crimes such as drunk driving have these limitations.

 

  1. Firearms restrictions

 

People released on bail are usually restricted from using firearms. Even if the crime did not involve the use of firearms.

 

 

 

 

Bail agents are usually regulated by laws and they cannot offer discounts on their fees. Hence it is difficult to find affordable bail options when it comes to bail bonds.

 

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