Legal Guide

Is A Bail Bond Company Right For You?

Bail bonds are quick fixes for individuals accused of various crimes. Instead of spending their days in the jail cell awaiting trial, a bail bond allows the accused to obtain conditional freedom as dictated by the court.

As a conditional release, the defendant is required to show up in court for hearing schedules and other legal appointments. If the accused fails to appear in court, the judge will issue an arrest warrant against the suspect. Jumping bail is a crime and doing it may worsen your run-ins with the law.

If you want to prepare for the worst, or are not sure whether the judge will release you on your own recognizance, you may need to seek the services of a bail bond company.

What Does A Bail Bond Company Do?

In most instances, the accused won't have enough resources to pay for the bail set by the court for a conditional release. This is when a bail bond company enters the scene. A bail bonds agent intervenes on behalf of the accused and assures the court that the client will appear in the next hearing.    

Bail bonds are typically set at 10% of the total bail amount, which the accused has to deliver to the bail bond company, for them to pay the court on the accused's behalf. Depending on the amount involved, payment may be done in cash or through collateral. Upon payment, the process commences with the bail bonds representative appearing in court to pay a portion of the bail, with a guarantee to complete the bail amount if the accused fails to appear in court.   

What Other Types Of Services Do Bail Bond Companies Offer?

Being highly familiar with the legal system and the key players in the sector, most companies have easy access to lawyers who can represent a defendant in a case. They can help you choose a good defense lawyer to help you out.  

In addition to lawyer referrals, bail bond agents can assist you with all types of bond proceedings. For instance, some bail bond companies such as accept bond assistance for individuals who are jailed for immigration problems, domestic violence allegations, and other federal as well as municipal cases.   

Some bail bond companies do more than just bail out defendants from jail. Others are authorized by the state to conduct private investigations and serve legal documents to civil case defendants. It must be noted that these additional services are regulated by state and federal laws, so if you do need to hire bail bond companies, check whether they have the accompanying permits and licenses. Aside from these, there are other key features you have to consider in scouting one.

 How Is The Bail Amount Set?

The court decides the bail amount by considering the main factors—the gravity of the crime committed, the defendant's tendency to flee, the accused’s criminal records or history, and the defendant’s financial situation.    

There are two types of bail bonds: 

  • Criminal bail bond- imposed in criminal cases to guarantee the defendant's presence during the trial and as an assurance of payment for other penalties.
  • Civil bail bond- applicable in civil cases to guarantee payment of debts, interests, and other additional costs as assessed against the accused.

The bail amount set by the court can run anywhere from a few hundred to millions. As a form of guarantee payment, the court will keep the money until the completion of the trial. When all the conditions are met and the trial is over, the accused can get the money back.

How Does The Bail Bond Process Go?

Once the court decides they can't completely trust the accused to appear in the next hearing, the court will set a bail bond for temporary liberty.

The defendant or the family members can initiate the bonds proceedings by reaching out to the bail bond company or an authorized representative. The bail bonds agent will solicit pertinent information to assess the potential client.

If the bail bond company agrees to offer its services to the defendant, an agent will post the bond and assist the defendant in filling out forms and submitting them to proper agencies. After the accomplishment of the necessary procedures, the defendant will be released temporarily.       

What Happens When A Client Skips Court?

When a defendant jumps bail or fails to appear in court for a hearing, the bail bond company has the right to apprehend the client, with the help of a professional bail enforcement agent or a bounty hunter, and take the individual to court. If a defendant goes missing, the bail bond company will pay the total bail amount. That being said, the company may seize the valuable assets used by the missing client as collateral for the bail bond.  

Final Thoughts

The law is as good as the instruments and people tasked to enforce it. Anyone who committed a crime or broke the law will surely have a day in court. However, there are remedies available for the accused such as payment of bail to retain their conditional freedom while their case is being heard. As mentioned previously, bail serves as an assurance to the court that the defendant will appear for trial and comply with judicial processes. Since an accused is innocent until proven guilty, bail preserves the right of the accused to be free pending litigation.

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