The law in different states is pretty straightforward when it comes to criminal charges. However, whether you are guilty or not, spending time in a cell as you wait for sentencing can be traumatizing for you and your family. This is why bail bonds were introduced to give the accused a chance to go on with their outside lives while waiting for the judge’s decision on their case. Nonetheless, one of the main questions among different individuals is, bail bonds how does it work? Well, when the judge or magistrate sets bail for you or your loved one, you can bring it in cash and pay it yourself, work closely with a bail bond agent, or pledge any property you may have. Those are the most common bail bond resources.
Getting the required amount from a bondsman is among the best options because you do not have to present the payment yourself. Nonetheless, there has been an increase in bail arguments between these service providers and their clients. That is why you should be well-versed in what the agreement entails. Getting funding from a bondsman is a type of loan which you must pay back plus its interest. That is why it is recommendable to be alert to how much bail bond interest rate the lender asks for to see whether you will afford to pay the money back or not.
Having bail bond information when you don’t need it means you will be prepared if you ever do. Bail bond information can be useful if you ever find yourself in a tight spot or if a loved one needs some help.
The eighth amendment to the constitution address bail bond information outright. As an American citizen, you are guaranteed a “reasonable bail” to be set in every single case except capital murder. Of course, what is considered reasonable can also be a problem. A bail bond agency can help to make bail more affordable.
Bail Bond Information The Basics
If you or loved one are arrested you will be brought before a judge or a magistrate within the first 24 hours you are being held. That “first appearance” is where the judge or magistrate explains your charges, and sets the “bail”.
Bail is a monetary amount that you have to pay to be released from jail while you wait for your trial. If you cannot pay the bail bond, then you do not get out of jail, regardless of how minor or major the infraction. Making bail means getting back home to your family and preparing your case for trial with your attorney. Not making bail means sitting and waiting.
Bail bond information reaches back centuries to medieval England where the tradition started. The bondsman services practice started as a way to balance the power between the rich and the poor. The rich were able to get out of jail by paying a deposit with the courts, while the poor that were unable to make this payment had to sit in jail.
How Does a Bail Bond Work?
When a judge or magistrate sets bail you have a few options for paying that bail and getting out of jail. Those options are:
- Come up with the cash and pay the bail yourself. Unfortunately, most people do not have thousands of dollars that they are willing to tie up in the courts waiting for their trial date. This is not a viable option for most people.
- You can pledge property. If you have real property (real estate) that is valued at the equivalent of the bail amount, you can pledge that property to get out of jail. However, that means your property will be tied up for the length of the court proceedings.
- You connect with a trusted bail bondsman. You can contact a bail agency that handles bail in your state and pay a percentage of the bail to them (usually around 15%) and they will get you out of jail. For most people this is the best financial choice.
Bail agencies are available around the clock to get you out of jail quickly. A 24 hour bail bonds service can come to the jail day or night, sign your bond, and get you out of jail within hours. Of course, it is not a free service.
There are some caveats about bail services that you need to understand. You will have to pay a percentage of whatever the bail is set at. For example, the judge has set a $25,000 bond, you will typically have to pay anywhere between 15% and 20% to the bond agent. Some states regulate how much a bail agency can charge you, others do not, but in almost every case the percentage that you pay does not exceed 20%. That means on a $25,000 bond you will pay anywhere from $3750-$5000.
You do not get this money back. If you pay bail directly to the court on your own, you get the money back after the case has been settled, if you use a bond agent, the money that you pay is the fee that is charged for the service. You don’t get a refund, but you do get out of jail for a lot less than what you would have to pay without a bail bond agent.
The bail bonds person is guaranteeing to the court that you will show up on the days you need to show up. They will make sure that you do that. If you do not show up, the agency will be out the entire $25,000 in bail money that they insured.
Why Bailing Out is a Good Idea
Getting the bail bond information that you need to make an informed decision can help you decide if paying that money is worth it to you. Most people find that getting out of jail is the best way to work with their criminal law lawyer to prepare for their trial.
There are some very clear reasons why opting to connect with a bail agent to get out of jail is the right thing to do. Of course, planning a criminal defense with your attorney is always a lot easier if you are not behind bars.
There are other clear benefits of not having to sit in jail besides working closely with your criminal law attorneys including:
- Being home with your family.
- Being able to go to work.
- Preparing yourself mentally for trial.
Sitting in jail is not the best place to sit especially when you can be home with your family and working. Managing family obligations from jail, supporting your kids, and being a partner to your loved one, is nearly impossible from jail. Getting back home should be a priority, bail bond agents help you get there.
Bail is Not a Get Out of Jail Free Card
While getting home to your family should be your priority, you need to know that bail bond information is not just about what you have to pay the bail agency to get your freedom. There are other caveats that the bail agent, the court, and lawyers can place on your release like:
- Regular check-ins with the bail bond company or the court. You may have to periodically check in with the authorities or your bail agent if the judge includes that in your bail conditions.
- You cannot get in any trouble while out on bail. Another charge while you are out on bail, will void your bail bond, and put you right back in jail.
- You may have to wear a monitoring bracelet. Depending on the nature of your charges and your history with the court, you may be ordered to wear a monitoring device while you are waiting for your trial.
Of course, you will also have to show up for every single court date that you are scheduled for, if you do not the bond agent will likely be out looking for you because they guaranteed that you would show up. If you do not do your part your bond can be rescinded and you can wind up back in jail.
In most cases the bail process is very successful for many clients. You keep your head down, follow the rules, show up when you need to, and you get to stay out of jail.
Where To Find Bail Bond Information
There are several ways you can find the bail bond information that you need to make decisions about hiring an agent to get you out of jail. For example, you can get bail bond information for your law firm. While most law firms do not provide bail service they usually do know trusted agents in your area.
Most jails have bail agents cards posted near the phone. The court can help you find an agent, or one of the court officers can. A simple online search for a bail bond agent near me will reveal a list of agents that can all help.
You should collect bail bond information from several different bail companies to do a little comparison not only on the cost of the bond but what is expected of you as part of the bond. For example, one agent may just need some basic background information and they will shoot you a text when it is time for your court date every time. Another agent may want you to check in with them weekly, and show proof of employment, and want three or more people to sign off on the bond.
A little comparison can, of course, also save you some money on the bail bond. Yes, this is a stressful time, but taking an hour or two to find the agent that is more in line with what you need can pay off.
It can take months before you ever have a court date, it can take over a year before you ever go to trial, you must gather the bail bond information that you need to ensure that you are working with an agent you feel comfortable with. Your bail bond agent will be in your life for as long as your court case is pending.
What Can Revoke a Bond?
You may not be aware of how fragile a bail situation can be. Your bond can be revoked by both the bail bond person and the court. There are a few sure-fire ways to get your bond revoked including:
- Getting rearrested on another charge. Let’s say you were charged with DUI and had to be bailed out because it was not your first offense. Let’s say you were out on bail, and the District Attorney decided to charge you with leaving the scene of an accident along with your DUI, the judge can decide to revoke your bond because the charges have changed. The court can also decide to issue a new bond for a higher dollar amount. Of course, a new unrelated charge can also wind up enough cause to revoke your bond.
- You move without giving the bond agent your new address. You have to keep your contact information up to date. If you change your phone number, move, divorce, or have any other change to the information that you provided to the bond company, be sure that you notify the agency.
- You are not in compliance with any of the court-ordered bond conditions. You have to really pay attention to what is written on your bond paperwork, it will give you all the bail bond information you need to follow to stay out of jail.
All the bail bond information that you need can be found on your release papers, and it is strongly suggested that you follow the directions to a Tee. Some of the most common criteria include things like if you are going to go away for the weekend you have to let the bond agent know.
Typically, bail bond specialists do not like when you leave the state, unless, you request permission before you go. Some agents will randomly visit your home to ensure that you are still around. Your bond can be revoked if your agent loses touch with you for whatever reason. You can avoid issued by keeping in touch regularly to assure your agent that you are still committed to getting this court case behind you and still available to them.
What if You Cannot Pay the Fees?
Coming up with $5000 at one time can be very difficult even with help from family and friends. Many agents that provide bail services know that. They will work with you on a payment schedule. For example, let’s use that $25,000 bond as an example. You would have to pay over $3000 at 15% and about $5000 at 20%.
Let’s say you can only come up with half of either amount. The bond agency may work with you for the other half. However, they will not drag the payments out for months. You may have to make weekly payments until you are all paid up.
Most agents will accept credit card payments, some will even accept car titles, jewelry, and other valuable goods as payment. More than likely, if you are using a property to pay the bond agent, it will be a combination of property and cash. Cash is king when it comes to getting out of jail.
What happens if you miss a payment or cannot finish making the payments? Most bail bond information will outline what can happen if you are late or have a missed payment, and unfortunately, it typically ends with you going back to jail.
On a more positive note, if you do what you say you are going to do, you can get out of jail and stay out of jail as your case plays out. Learn more about bail bond information and how the bail system works before you ever need the information and you will always be prepared for the worst-case scenario.