In the chaos of an arrest it is easy to get caught up in the moment and race to bail someone out of jail. Bonding someone out is not hard to do, but if that person doesn’t show up in court when ordered to do so, your life could become very difficult. Be sure you know this person will show up in court if you provide the bail.
How it Works
If you bond someone out of jail, you are promising that he or she will appear in court for all court appearances. You will have promised that if he or she does not appear, you will be responsible for the entire bond amount and you will be expected to pay it. When you bail someone out (If the court does not require a full cash bond) you pay a percentage of the bail amount to get your friend or loved one released. You also sign legally binding documents that hold you responsible for the full amount if the defendant goes on the run.
Video: Out on Bail (full movie)
Once the court date goes by, and the defendant doesn’t show up, a time clock starts. States vary in how long they give, but the court gives the bail bond company a set amount of time to locate the defendant and bring him or her before the judge. Six months is a typical time frame. If they or you do not bring the defendant to jail by the end of the time frame, the bond company pays the entire amount to the court and then you must pay that amount to the bond company.
If you have put your house, car, jewelry or anything else up as security against the bond amount and the defendant does not appear or get caught before time is out, you will have to give up your security items. There is a court process to do this, but in the end, if you used property as a guarantee, you will lose your property.
Final thoughts: Bail/bonds serve an important purpose. They allow a defendant to get out of jail, continue working, spend time with family, and plan a defense. Meetings with attorneys, making money, and other life matters are much more easily attended to from outside of a jail cell. If you are sure the person you are bonding out will appear in court, you can do them a great service by signing for the bond. If for any reason you believe that person might not show up in court, or if you do not know the person very well, you should rethink taking such a risk.
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