How Does a Bail Bond Process Work?

Many states allow defendants to be released from jail to wait for court by paying a percentage of the total bond amount. Percentages range from 10 to 20 percent depending on state law. Understand how the process works to help someone who’s been arrested.

What is a Bond?

A bond is an amount of money a judge sets to ensure that a defendant will appear in court. In theory, a defendant who has put up money to get out of jail will appear at all court dates to avoid losing the money. If the defendant does not appear, he or she forfeits the cash.

What is a Bail Bond Company?

This is a company willing to put up the money on a defendant’s behalf so that he or she can be released from jail and await court dates from home.

The bail bond company charges the defendant a percentage of the total bond plus a fee for this service.

Learn More: Out on Bond and Arrested Again

Example:
State allows 10 percent bonds

Bail is set at $5,000

Bond charges a $50 fee

The defendant can be released if someone pays $550 on his or her behalf to the bail bond company.

Watch Video: Ladies of Lipstick Bail Bonds

If the bond company agrees to “write the bond” it means that company will pay the court the entire $5,000 if the defendant does not keep court dates.

Bond companies typically require someone other than the defendant to sign for the bond, agreeing to pay the entire bail amount to the bond company should the defendant fail to keep court appearances.

In the above example, if the defendant does not show up in court, the bail bond company will have a specified time frame in which to find and bring the defendant to jail. If that doesn’t happen the bond company must pay the $5,000 to the court.

The bond company will go after whoever signed for the bond for $4.500, which is $5.000 minus the $500 that was originally put up. The fee is not refundable.

Can posting bail hurt your credit?Final thought: Some bond companies ask friends and family members to put collateral on the line, such as a home or car. If you decide to sign on a bond for a defendant, be very sure that he or she is going to appear in court.

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About Mark Miclette 682 Articles
writes about inmates, jails, prisons, courts and the lives of people who live and work within the United States Criminal Justice System. His mission can be summed up in a single word; transparency.