With crime on the uptick in many states, more people are turning to the services of a professional bail bondsman when they find themselves in jail. In this article, we will answer many of the frequently asked questions about bail and bail bondsmen.
Q. What is Bail?
A. Bail is the temporary release of a defendant, usually done after payment or property has been put up as collateral on a promise that the defendant will attend all court dates as scheduled. Failure to show up to court as agreed upon means the money will be forfeited by the court.
Q. Can you bail yourself out?
A. If you are in jail and can afford the bail amount then you can bail yourself out as the only cosigner. However, this is often difficult for many people because bail amounts are often set too high for many people to afford. In addition, cash bail should be paid in cash before you can be released and yet not many people have huge amounts of cash lying somewhere to bail them out when needed.
Q. What is a bail bond?
A. This is a bond that serves to guarantee that the defendant will be present in court for his hearing upon temporary release. The amount is often returned if the defendant appears in court but can be forfeited for failure to appear before the judge on the scheduled date.
Q. Are there any fees associated with a bail bond?
A. Of course. You will be charged a 10 percent fee of the bond amount posted, although there may be other charges as spelled out by the contract between you and the bondsman. However, keep in mind that the law outlines the amount of fee to be charged by a bail bondsman, so be on the lookout for bail bondsmen who claim to offer ridiculously low rates because they could be scamming you or might not be licensed to operate in your state.
Q. Do you need collateral to secure a bail bond?
A. In most cases, no collateral is required for small amounts. However, you may have to put up your property (jewelry, cash, car or house) to secure a bail bond.
Q. Who are bail bondsmen?
A. Also referred to as bail bond companies or agents, they provide bail bonds to defendants who cannot afford to post the full bail amount. If you think you may need the services of a bondsman you can find a bondsman in your state.
Q. Do you get a money-back guarantee upon posting bail?
A. Many people wonder whether they can be sure of getting their bail money back. While there is no guarantee that you’ll get your money back, there are high chances your bail money will be returned to you if you attend all your hearings. However, you may be charged a small fee if you’re not found guilty. On the other hand, you may pay a higher fee or even lose your bail money if found guilty because it can be used to pay high court fees.
Q. Can the judge refuse to give cash bail?
A. Yes, under some circumstances. For instance, if you are considered a flight risk, violated your parole, have a criminal record, are notorious for missing your court dates or are facing heinous crime charges, then the judge can deny you bail.
Q. Why do I need a bail bondsman?
A. If you can afford to pay your cash bail, then you may not need a bail bondsman. However, if you do not have the cash to do so, you may consider reaching out to a bondsman to post bail and secure your release from jail.