Unicoi County Jail - Male and Female Jails Inmate Bail & Bonds

Search for an Inmate in Unicoi County

Unicoi County Jail - Male and Female Jails

Address:
102 N. Main Street
Erwin, TN 37650

Phone:

423-743-1864

Bail and Bond Instructions for Unicoi County

What is Bail?

Bail is what the arrested in Unicoi 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 Tennessee 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 Unicoi County Jail - Male and Female Jails 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, Unicoi 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 Unicoi 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. 

A Transfer Bond is transferable across state lines but generally a bond company will only assume the loan to adjoining states. In addition to the 10% fee, there is a transfer fee owed to the bonding company between $50-$100.

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 Unicoi County have bail?

Yes,  Unicoi County recognizes most types of bonds.

What kind of bonds are accepted in Unicoi County? 

Unicoi County recognizes most types of bonds. The court will consider what type of bonds will be accepted depending on the circumstances of the arrest.

Who can set bail in Unicoi County?

Bail is set by a magistrate or judge.

When is bail set in Tennessee?

Bail is set during the defendant’s first court hearing, also known as a bail hearing. This court appearance will be scheduled within 72 hrs. of arrest not counting weekends or holidays.

Can I get the bail or bond reduced in Unicoi County Tennessee? 

Yes, your attorney can request a bond reduction.

In Unicoi County Tennessee, 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 Tennessee could be the surety and execute a bond to the court on your behalf.

Can bail be paid online in Unicoi County Tennessee?

Yes, Tennessee does offer online bail payment. Please contact the jail for specific information on how to pay bail. Go to the Unicoi County Jail - Male and Female Jails for more information about the jails in Unicoi County.

What options are there to pay bail in Unicoi County Tennessee?

Most all jail and courts accept cash, a cashier or bankers’ check. Some accept a credit card with fees. Please contact the jail for specific information on what methods of payment are accepted. Go to the Unicoi County Jail - Male and Female Jails for more information about posting bail in Unicoi County.  

Will I get all my bond money back in Tennessee? 

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 Unicoi County?

No, unless released on own recognizance you will be required to pay some money down to secure bail. 

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.

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

The Unicoi County Jail - Male and Female Jails 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 423-743-1864 for the type of bond and any information that is required for a particular individual at Unicoi County Jail - Male and Female Jails.
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 Unicoi County

Because Unicoi County and Tennessee can change their bail bond procedures, it is always best to call either the Unicoi County Jail - Male and Female Jails at 423-743-1864, 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 Unicoi County Jail - Male and Female Jails or the Unicoi 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 Unicoi County Jail - Male and Female Jails

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 Unicoi County Jail - Male and Female Jails 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 Unicoi County Jail - Male and Female Jails where the defendant is being held, but usually to the Unicoi County Sheriff's Office or to the Unicoi 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 Unicoi County Jail - Male and Female Jails

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 Unicoi County Jail - Male and Female Jails

If you are a landowner in Unicoi County you may be able to post a property bond. Property within Unicoi 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 Unicoi 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 Unicoi County Jail - Male and Female Jails.

Who can post Bail or Bond for a Defendant at Unicoi County Jail - Male and Female Jails?

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 Tennessee state licensed Bail Bond firm.

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

Unicoi 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, Unicoi 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 Unicoi 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 an Inmate Makes a Phone Call to You or Others from Unicoi County Jail - Male and Female Jails

To set up a phone account so that your inmate can call you from Unicoi County do the following:

1. Enroll in an account with Securus Technologies.

2. Choose one of three account types, Securus Debit, Advance Connect or Direct Bill.
3. Choose [facility_name_1}, then connect with your inmate.
4. If you have any questions, call Securus: 972-734-1111 or 800-844-6591.

To find out fees, how to's, calling times, limits on phone calls and other systems Securus has do that you can communicate with your Unicoi County inmate, check out our Inmate Phone Page.
NOTE: All of your inmate's phone calls are recorded and stored. It is advised not to discuss their pending case.


 

How to Send a Secure Email Message to an Inmate in Unicoi County

To send a secure email message to an inmate in Unicoi County Jail - Male and Female Jails follow these steps:

  • Register with Inmate Sales, the company that handles inmate messaging in Unicoi County, by creating an account.
  • Select Tennessee, then select Unicoi County Jail - Male and Female Jails, and then the inmate you want to send your message to.
  • Choose the amount of money you want to spend, and input your payment method. The funds can also be used by the inmate to send a message back to you.
  • If you want to pay by phone, call 877-998-5678.
  • NOTE: All messages between you and your inmate will be permanently recorded and seen by the staff and could be used against your inmate in court.

-  Chirping is the product name for inmate texting.  
-  This product allows Unicoi County inmates to send chirps (texts) to friends and family members.
-  Inmates will be charged a monthly service fee of $4.00.
-  Inbound and Outbound Chirps are $0.10 each.

Inmate Sales Apps

iphone app
Google Play app

For all information on how to Text/Email an Inmate in Unicoi County Jail - Male and Female Jails check out our Secure Messaging Guide for Unicoi County.


 

How Do Inmates in Unicoi County Jail - Male and Female Jails Make Phone Calls?

To receive phone calls from inmates in Unicoi County, or to assist them in making phone calls to other people, follow these steps:

  • Unicoi County Jail - Male and Female Jails uses the services of a company named Inmate Sales.
  • Register with them online or call them at 877-998-5678
  • Agents are available M-F from 8:00 AM - 12:00 midnight EST, Saturdays from 10:00 AM - 9:00 PM, and speak both English & Spanish.
  • Services for Unicoi County inmates and their families and friends include: Collect Calling, PIN Debit, Purchasing Calling Cards, Deposits, Messaging & Video Visitation.

iphone app
Google Play app

For all the information regarding phone calls with Unicoi County inmates; rules, policies, phone calling times, limits and more visit our Inmate Phone Page.


 

How to Send Money to an Inmate in Unicoi County

To send commissary money to an inmate in Unicoi County Jail - Male and Female Jails follow these steps:

  • Register with correctpay by creating an account.
  • Select Tennessee, then select Unicoi County Jail - Male and Female Jails, and then the inmate you want to send money to.
  • Choose the amount of money you want to send, and input your payment method.
  • You can deposit money four ways:
  • Deposit online at correctpay.com.
  • Deposit at the VendEngine kiosk in the Unicoi County Jail - Male and Female Jails lobby.
  • Deposit over the phone 24/7 at 855-836-3364
  • Deposit through their iOS or Android app.

For all information on how to Send Money to an inmate's account, what the fees are, how long it takes to hit their account and more, check out our full money and commissary guide for Unicoi County Jail - Male and Female Jails.


 

How to Send Commissary Money to an Inmate in Unicoi County

To send commissary money to an inmate's account in Unicoi County Jail - Male and Female Jails follow these steps:

You can deposit money four different ways:

  • Deposit online at correctpay.com.
  • Deposit at the VendEngine kiosk in the Unicoi County Jail - Male and Female Jails lobby.
  • Deposit over the phone 24/7 at 855-836-3364
  • Deposit through their iOS or Android app.

24/7 Customer Service - 855-836-3364
Frequently Asked Questions

For all information, tips and available items for send money and for shipping Commissary packages to an inmate in Unicoi County Jail - Male and Female Jails check out our Commissary Instructions Page for Unicoi County.


 

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