Bail Bonds 101 For Attorneys
As an attorney, clients may call you in the middle of the night claiming they have been arrested and demanding that you get them out of jail. This is perhaps because the average client is unlikely to be associated with any bail bond agent. They may also resort to Yelp to search for an attorney hoping that they find one who can be relied upon. In this regard, criminal defense attorneys ought to have already established a working relationship with a reputable and trustworthy bail bond agent to add more credibility to their portfolio. Moreover, clients tend to view such associations as a good reflection of the practice. Similarly, noncriminal attorneys should have a positive relationship with a criminal attorney because they never know when their help might come in handy. Attorneys will always have clients who need a bondsman to help secure their release from jail and resume their normal lives.
Here’s what all attorneys need to know about bail bonds.
Creating an attorney-bail bonds agent relationship founded on professionalism, reliability, and mutual trust requires an attorney to look for a bondsman who has extensive years of experience in the industry. Such bondsmen can raise large bail bond amounts of more than $1 million within 24 hours and hopefully secure the release of your client. Not many organizations can do this, but the experienced bond agent can work with insurers to get large bail bonds approved. Very few bail bond companies can raise this bail amount.
Attorneys should also seek out flexibility concerning upfront premium. Suppose the client can pay the attorney but does not have enough money to cover the bond agent’s fee at the same time, a good bail bondsman should be willing to forgo part of the upfront fee to allow the attorney to get their fair share first. Besides, if the defendant is represented by a private attorney, the company may avail a discount to reduce the overall cost.
If the bondsman helps by providing extra services to support the attorney in regards to hearing and motions, then it can be a plus for the attorney. Extra services that are a bonus include flexible payment plans for the accused, 24-hour emergency services, and offering a ride home upon the defendant’s release.
Knowing the ins and outs of its own state’s bail system is also a bonus. Every state or county has its nuanced system and knowing how to navigate the system is important for any bail bond agent. For instance, the bondsman is often allotted different days (depending on the state or county) to find the defendant or incur costs if the latter jumps bail.
Different rules apply to apprehension and bond forfeiture and it is important for the bondsman to know these rules and play by them. For instance, some counties allow the attorney to get in touch with the detention release office and negotiate for the reduction of bail before the initial court date. This could save some money in bond fees. The attorney may also opt to wait for the initial court hearing and convince the judge to reduce the bond or bail when the defendant is arraigned. On the other hand, the judge may also release the defendant on his own recognizance. The bail bond agent should be aware of all these and advise accordingly because they have observed how the judges, prosecutors, and police work and can assist a criminal defense attorney when necessary.
Having a good working relationship with bondsmen could also afford the client the white-glove treatment to avoid spending the night in jail.
Regardless, having a working relationship based on trust is vital. When the attorney can trust that the bondsmen with do their job as promised, they can work together to ensure the client does not spend a long time in jail. Knowing these details about bail bonds could help attorneys to establish a solid reputation in their practice.