Howard County Jail Inmate Bail & Bonds

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Howard County Jail

Address:
124 S. Park Place
Cresco, IA 52136

Phone:

563-547-3535

Bail and Bond Instructions for Howard County

What is Bail?

Bail is what the arrested in Howard County must pay or do to stay out of jail until the first court appearance. 

The agreement to bail acts as a promise that the arrested will return to court for court dates and trial. Bail usually refers to a dollar amount, but bail can also mean something that has to be done, or a condition such as reporting to an officer of the court, a curfew, restraining orders or attending a treatment program. 

Bail is usually a significant enough amount of money and/or condition that the person will be negatively impacted and has incentive to return to court and not flee. A flight risk usually means that the person would flee the area, and not necessary that they are going to take an airplane. 

If a judge in Howard County feels that the arrested will return to court for further proceedings, the arrested could be released under a conditional release without needing to pay bail money. This is called Released on Own Recognizance, or ROR.  

Conditions for ROR might be to obey all court orders and laws, maintain contact with the lawyer, report changes in residence or have no contact with the victim. Family support will show the court that there are people who will make sure that the defendant makes it to court. 

If the judge or bail schedule determines that the defendant would be a danger to the public if they were released, bail can be denied, and the person will be detained in the Howard County Jail until the case is resolved or goes to trial. 

Bail can be denied if the defendant did not comply with bail conditions from a previous arrest. Bail is usually denied in cases of violent offenses. 

What is the difference between Bail and Bond?

Bail and bond are used interchangeably to mean the same thing but technically, they are different. The bail is the amount to be paid and a bond is a signed document promising payment of the bail amount with certain conditions. Think of a bond as a loan to pay for the bail.  

The bond payment is always written to the court in your municipality, Howard County or district directly and does not go through the defendant. Chances of obtaining a bond from a bond company or clerk of court are better if family is involved.  

The thought of being in jail can cause the arrested to panic and try to secure a bond immediately.

DO NOT panic and take the time to understand all the options.  

More courts are now trying to work with defendants to make bail work and might provide non-monetary options or even reduce the bail.  

Payments to a bond company are not refundable. It is a long process to get back property title or money that was given to the clerk of court or bondsperson to secure the bond. This could put your loved ones into a difficult financial situation. 

Another reason not to unnecessarily rush into securing a bond is that if the court notes that you came up with the money to pay a bond company, they may assume you have resources to pay a defense attorney and decline public defense.  

On the other hand, as anyone who has ever been involved in their criminal defense understands, fighting your case while ‘out on the streets’ gives you a much better chance of either winning, or getting a more favorable sentence.  

What are the different types of bonds in Howard County?

Based on a review of information from the arrest, the judge or bail officer will determine and notify the accused of which types of bonds are available to them.

To describe the types of bonds, let’s use an example of buying your neighbor’s car. Your neighbor decides the price of the car and how they would be paid.

Similarly, the court (meaning a police or bail officer, clerk of court, bail magistrate or judge) determines the bail amount and how it would be paid.

Here are different options that the seller of the car or the court might consider:

You could pay full asking price for the car in cash. This is similar to paying cash bail.  The full amount of bail would be paid to the town or county clerk or at the jail. Cash, cashier’s checks and credit cards are usually accepted.

You could sign an agreement on your own or with another person to pay for the car at a future date knowing that your neighbor would know where to find you if you stopped payment. This would be similar to a cash bond or a personal recognizance (PR) bond which are bonds to where someone representing the defendant signs paperwork promising to pay the bail amount if the defendant does not show up to court. There is no money due up front. 

If the defendant does not show up, the full amount of the bail will be due to the court and the people who signed the paperwork will be responsible for paying the court and the court will send the sheriff’s department to arrest you. 

Cash bonds and PR bonds are types of unsecured bonds because you are not securing it with any money down. In bond terms, a surety is a person who will be responsible for making sure that you will show to court and will be responsible to pay the bond if the arrested person does not show up.

Surety can be family, friend or a bondsperson. Your attorney cannot act as a surety.

You can put a deposit down for your neighbor’s car and sign an agreement that the car will be paid off at a later date. Cash percentage in lieu of bonds is when the defendant pays a percentage of the bail amount, usually 10%, to the court which then holds the money until the case is over. 

The amount is returned to the person who paid the 10% after the case is over. In most cases, the full amount is not returned if there are court fees or fines due. This is a type of surety bond if another person signs the bond paperwork.

You could sign an agreement that if the car were not paid off, that your neighbor would get your house or something of value. 

A property bond is a bond that the courts might consider in which the bond is pledged in land or home real estate (mobile homes are not accepted).  

Usually, the property must be in the same state as the courts, and it must be worth at least 1 ½ - 2 times the amount of the bond.  

There are multiple court fees involved to execute a property bond with the courts and a tedious process to get the property deed back. This is another type of surety bond if another person or a bond company is used to secure the bond. 

You could also go to a local bank and take out a car loan offering property or anything of value for collateral. You may get someone to co-sign on the loan and offer their property. The bank charges fees, interest and could keep your property if you did not pay the loan back, or even on time.  

A professional bondsperson makes money, at least 10% of the bond amount by providing you with a “loan” called a bond. The percent that they charge is fixed by the state and cannot be negotiated. The defendant or surety does not get that 10% or more back even if the terms of the bail are met. 

With a property bond, the property deed would need to be signed over to the bondsperson and everyone on the deed would need to be involved.

Since the bondsperson signed off, to be responsible that you show to court as your surety, they can send a bounty hunter to bring you to court if you flee. A bondsperson does not have to give you a bond if the defendant seems to be too much of a risk.

Ask the bondsperson to explain all the costs: percentage, fees or court fees. There is never a reason to rush through signing the paperwork with a bond company. Make sure that everything told to you is in writing and that you understand what you are signing. Ask questions, and if you feel rushed or don’t understand the contract with the bond company, you might want to call another one.

(There have been phone scams where a bond company calls and informs a person that their family member has been arrested and they ask for financial information.  A bondsperson will not call asking for money without involvement of the arrested.)

Does Howard County have bail?  

Yes,  Howard County recognizes most types of bonds. Bail is a Constitutional right. This means most defendants can qualify for pre-trial release on their own recognizance, cash bail, or a surety bond.

What kind of bonds are accepted in Howard County? 

Iowa recognizes most types of bonds. The court will consider what type of bonds will be accepted depending on the circumstances of the arrest. Defendants can qualify for pre-trial release on their own recognizance, cash bail, or a surety bond.

Who can set bail in Howard County?

Bail for less serious, nonviolent crimes are set according to a predetermined bail schedule and can range from $300-$25,000. For more serious & violent crimes, or when the defendant does not qualify for immediate release, bail must be set by a judge.

When is bail set in Iowa?  

For less serious, nonviolent crimes bail is set according to a predetermined bail schedule and this information will be available during processing. For crimes requiring a judge to set bail the defendant will usually be within 24 hours of arrest.

Can I get the bail or bond reduced in Howard County Iowa? 

Yes, your attorney can also request a bond reduction.

In Howard County Iowa, who can pay bail for me? 

The person posting bail should be a relative or close friend, called a surety, because they are promising and taking responsibility that you will return to court to get their money back. 

A surety is not responsible for court fees or paying off personal debts for the defendant. A professional bondsperson who is approved by the State of Iowa could be the surety and execute a bond to the court on your behalf.

Can bail be paid online in Howard County Iowa?

Yes, Iowa does offer online bail payment. Please contact the county clerk or jail for specific information on how to pay bail. Go to the Howard County Jail for more information about the jails in Howard County.

What options are there to pay bail in Howard County Iowa?

Cash, debit card, credit card or surety. Payments may be made in person, online, or via a registered bail bond agent. In person payments may be made at the clerk of court office in the county where the defendant is being held.

A more immediate answer can be obtained by contacting the jail for specific information on what methods of payment are accepted. Go to the Howard County Jail for more information about posting bail in Howard County.  

Will I get all my bond money back in Iowa? 

Bail money is returned to the person who paid the bail; in whole or in part once the case is finished. There may be fees, restitution (money to pay for damage caused by the crime) or fines that come out of that amount. If you used a bondsperson, you would not get your 10% back. Property is returned by the court or bondsperson after the appropriate requests and formal paperwork are completed with the court.

Can I get bail or a bond with no money down in Howard County? 

The judge or officer who sets bail determines which kind of bail will be an option for you, but a cash bond and PR bonds usually do not require cash down, though you might have to pay court fees.

A cash bond or a personal recognizance (PR) bond are bonds where someone representing the defendant signs paperwork promising to pay the bail amount if the defendant does not show up to court. There is no money due up front. 

If the defendant does not show up, the full amount of the bail will be due to the court and the people who signed the paperwork will be responsible for paying the court and the court will send the sheriff’s department to arrest you. 

Cash bonds and PR bonds are types of unsecured bonds because you are not securing it with any money down. In bond terms, a surety is a person who will be responsible to make sure that you will show to court and will be responsible to pay the bond if the arrested person does not show up.  A surety can be family, friend or a bondsperson. Your attorney cannot act as a surety.

You may also post collateral via a registered bail bond agent.

What are the least expensive and affordable bail bonds in Iowa?  

The Howard County Jail or court in this jurisdiction can provide you with a list of approved and licensed bond companies, but they cannot recommend a specific company. You are not obligated to use the first company available and can call several companies to compare what kind of bonds that the bondsperson is willing to execute.  

The percentage of bail that the bond company can charge is set, usually at 10%, by the state and cannot be negotiated.

Who do I call to find out the Bond for an Inmate?

Please call the jail at 563-547-3535 for the type of bond and any information that is required for a particular individual at Howard County Jail.
A bond is set according to a court-approved schedule.
The purpose of the bond is to assure the offender's appearance in court.

Instructions on how to post Bail or Bond in Howard County

Because Howard County and Iowa can change their bail bond procedures, it is always best to call either the Howard County Jail at 563-547-3535, or the court in the jurisdiction (i.e. Municipal Court, District Court, etc.) where the offender was charged, right after an arrestee has been booked. 

Ask the staff at the Howard County Jail or the Howard County Court Clerk these specific questions:

  1. Is the defendant eligible for bail or a bond?
  2. How much will the bail or bond be, and what are the additional fees?
  3. Where do I go to pay it?
  4. Are there any days or times of the day or night when I cannot post bail?
  5. What types of payment are allowed? Cash? Money order? Credit card? What types of credit cards? Property or other collateral? Surety bonds?
  6. Do I have to use a bail or bond agent?

If you feel the bail is too high and you wish to get it reduced, contact a lawyer or the defendant's public defender and get them to look into what they can do to get a bail reduction. The sooner you get working on this the quicker you will get your loved one released. 

This entire process will go smoother and faster with a criminal attorney or bail agent handling it for you.

Option 1 - How to Post Bail using Cash for a Defendant at Howard County Jail

The first option, a cash bond, is to pay the full bail amount in cash, cashier's check, or money order. Personal Checks are not accepted.

Depending on the crime, this amount could be anywhere from $100 to $75,000 or more.

To pay a cash bond, go to Howard County Jail or to the court where the bail hearing occurred. Going directly to the jail will quicken the release of the defendant as any bail paperwork processed at the court will have to be transferred to the jail.

Cashier's Checks and Money Orders may be made out to Howard County Jail where the defendant is being held, but usually to the Howard County Sheriff's Office or to the Howard County Court.

To purchase money orders visit any Western Union, Moneygram or Post Office.

Option 2 - How to Post a Private or Surety Bond for a Defendant at Howard County Jail

In the event that someone does not have the full bond amount available to him or her, there is what is called a private bond or surety bond.

This is an agreement made with a bail agent or bondsman who will post the full bail amount. In return, the defendant and/or cosigner will pay a premium to the bail agent. This premium will be 10-15% of the full bail amount.



For example, if bail is posted at $5,000, then the premium will cost approximately $500-$750.

A bail agent will often require some form of collateral, for example, a lien on a house, a car or jewelry. This is to ensure that if the defendant skips bail, or does not appear in court, the bail agent has some sort of compensation for the full bail amount being paid.

Remember, by making an agreement with a bail agent the signatory takes responsibility for paying the full bail amount if the defendant does not appear in court.

Option 3 - How to Post a Property Bond for a Defendant at Howard County Jail

If you are a landowner in Howard County you may be able to post a property bond. Property within Howard County may be used as collateral to bail someone out. All owners of the property must be present to sign the bond in order for this to happen.

To find if property located outside of Howard County can be used as collateral, call a local bail or bond agent or contact a defense lawyer.

Click here for additional information on how to post bail at Howard County Jail.

Who can post Bail or Bond for a Defendant at Howard County Jail?

Anyone over the age of 18 who can produce a valid government-issued photo ID can post bail. Accepted forms of ID include a Photo Driver's License, Passport, or Motor Vehicle issued ID.

In many circumstances, if the defendant has the resources, they can post their own cash bail from jail.

Surety Bonds are arranged by a third party, typically a Iowa state licensed Bail Bond firm.

Juveniles may only be bailed or bonded out of custody by a parent or legal guardian.

Howard County Justice System Flowchart

When will the Cash Bail or Collateral be returned to me?

Money or collateral will not be returned until the defendant's court case is finished, so realistically it could take several months to years, depending on the severity of the charges. If a defendant posts his or her own bail, Howard County Court may retain whatever amount of fines or fees have accumulated throughout the trial.

What happens to my Bail or Collateral if the Defendant misses Court?

The Howard County Judge may order a failure to appear warrant for the person's arrest or the Judge may order a Bail Commissioner's Letter be issued that will be sent to the person with a new court date.

If cash bail was paid, the entire amount may be forfeited.

How Do You Schedule and Visit an Inmate in Howard County Jail?

To set up an account to schedule and visit your Howard County inmate, follow these instructions:

  • Register and set up a new account with RELIANCE, or log in if you already have an account.
  • Select Howard County Jail, then select your inmate who you will be visiting.
  • Your identity will have to investigated and approved by the Howard County staff.
  • Once approved, you can schedule a visit.

For all the information you need in order to schedule and visit your Howard County inmate, or to assist them in visiting with others, including instructions, fees, cost of each visit, requirements for free visits, tablet rentals that can be used for visits, payment methods and times that your inmate can have a visit, check out our Visit Inmate Page.
NOTE: All of your visits with your inmate will be monitored and recorded. Use discretion when discussing sensitive information about their pending case.


 

How Do Inmates in Howard County Jail Make Phone Calls?

To set up your Howard County inmate to make to make phone calls to you and others, follow these instructions:

For all the information you need in order to receive phone calls from your Howard County inmate, or to assist them in making calls to others, including instructions, fees, cost of calls, payment methods and times that your inmate can use the phone, check out our Inmate Phone Page.
NOTE: All of your communication with your inmate will be monitored and recorded. Use discretion when discussing sensitive information about their pending case.


 

How Do Inmates in Howard County Jail Send and Receive Texts and Emails?

To set up your Howard County inmate to make to send and receive texts and emails to you and others, follow these instructions:

For all the information you need in order to send and receive texts and emails from your Howard County inmate, or to assist them in sending and receiving secure messages to and from others, including instructions, fees, cost of each message, tablet rentals, payment methods and times that your inmate can send messages, check out our Text/Email an Inmate Page.
NOTE: All of your communication with your inmate will be monitored and recorded. Use discretion when communicating sensitive information about their pending case.


 

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