FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT BAIL
WHO AND WHAT DETERMINES A PERSON'S BAIL AMOUNT?
The bail amount is set by a Magistrate or Judge during a bail hearing at the jail or courthouse after the accused has been arrested and booked. In determining the amount of the bail, the Magistrate or Judge follows set guidelines and will consider a variety of factors, including the severity of the crime, previous convictions, the defendant's ties to the community, their relationships with family, and whether or not they are regularly employed. Bail is a method the court uses to help ensure that the accused will return for all court hearings and proceedings. Once the case is decided, the bail is discharged by the court.
WHY DO I NEED A BAIL AGENT?
Once bail is set, the accused can pay the full cash amount of the bail directly to the court in order to be released from jail. The court can also keep a part of the cash bail to pay any fines and costs. Most people do not have that kind of cash on hand. This is when they turn to the services provided by a licensed bail agent. In exchange for a small non-refundable fee, around 10% of the bail amount set by the Judge or Magistrate, a bail agent will post a bond for the full amount of the bail set by the court. Posting the bond by the bail agent with the court results in the release of the accused from jail usually in short time depending on how busy the jail is.
DO I NEED COLLATERAL TO SECURE A BAIL BOND?
Depending on the circumstances, a bail agent may ask you to secure the release of a friend or family member through a bail bond with collateral such as cash, securities, property or other valuables. This helps to ensure that the accused will appear for all court proceedings and will follow the directions of the bail agent. Once the case is closed by the court and the bail bond is discharged, the collateral is returned. In the event that the accused fails to appear for any hearing in front of the Judge, the bond could be voided and the collateral used to pay the full amount of the bail to the court. If the accused does not comply with the directions of the bail agent, the bail agent could also return the accused to jail and void the bail bond. The collateral can be returned in this case if the bond has not been forfeited by the court.
WHAT INFORMATION DO I NEED WHEN CONTACTING A BAIL AGENT?
Once bail for the accused has been set, contact your bail agent with the following information:
• The full name of the person in jail
• What jail they're booked into
• Their booking number
• The charges
• The bail amount
• Any other relevant information
WHERE DO I GO TO POST THE BOND?
Once the amount of the bail has been set by the Judge or Magistrate, arrangements for a bail bond can typically be made over the telephone with your bail agent. Once the paperwork is processed, your bail agent will likely want to meet you at the jail to post the bond. For many people, a trip to the jail may be an uncomfortable or unfamiliar experience but your bail agent is there to help you through it. Meeting the bail agent at the jail also helps to ensure the shortest amount of time before the accused is released from the jail. You may also go to the office of your bail agent if that is close by and in some instances, the bail agent may be willing to come to your home. Bail can also be arranged for by your bail agent for an accused friend or family member who is in jail in another county or even in another state.
WHEN WILL THE BAIL AGENT POST THE BOND?
Once the bail bond paperwork has been processed including the assignment of collateral if needed and the fee or premium as it is known has been paid, your bail agent will make arrangements with the jail for the release of the accused friend or family member. This usually happens after the accused has been arrested and booked into the jail and has had bail set by a Judge or Magistrate.
HOW LONG WILL IT TAKE FOR THE DEFENDANT TO BE RELEASED FROM JAIL?
Once the bail bond has been posted by your bail agent, the process of getting the accused out of the jail make take minutes or up to several hours. This is usually determined by how busy the jail is and the circumstances involving the release. You can be assured that your bail agent knows the process and is doing everything they can to get your friend or family member released from jail as soon as possible.
WHAT ARE THE DEFENDANT'S RESPONSIBILITIES ONCE THEY'VE BEEN BONDED OUT?
Bail is used by the court to help ensure that the accused will attend all court proceedings as determined by the judge. Should the accused fail to appear for any of the court proceedings, the judge may void or forfeit the bail bond and require that the bail agent pay the full amount of the bail to the court. In this case, the bail agent will find and return the accused back to the jail. The bail agent may also convert any collateral that was used to secure the bail bond into funds that can be used as compensation for the amount of the bail paid to the court. In the event that the accused does not follow the instructions given by the bail agent, the bail agent may also return the accused to the jail and void the bail bond. It is essential that the accused follow all directions of the bail agent and appear for all court hearings in order to avoid further action against them.
HOW LONG DO I HAVE TO ABIDE BY THE TERMS OF THE BOND?
Until the case is closed by the court, the accused is responsible for meeting all court appearances and requirements of the bail bond and for following the directions of the bail agent. After the case is closed, the court then discharges the bail bond. The terms and requirements of the bail bond ends for all parties involved.