In most states, a bail bond allows a person to gain release from custody while awaiting trial. Bail bonds are essential to the justice system because without them, county jails would become overcrowded with people held on minor charges. Also, courts dismiss many charges or impose sentences that involve no jail time. In those cases, innocent people or people who face no time in prison would languish in a county lockup for months or years.
Purpose of a Bail Bond
A bail bond’s purpose is to ensure that a defendant shows up in court for trial. If the defendant fails to appear, the money he or she put up for bail is forfeited. Because the intent is for defendants to be eligible for bail, judges try to make the bail amount high enough to provide sufficient motivation for the defendant to show up in court but not so high that it is unaffordable. An exception occurs with defendants who are considered highly dangerous. In those cases, judges may set bond that is high enough to ensure the defendant remains in custody.
Bail is Guaranteed by the Constitution
The U.S. Constitution guarantees the right to bail. The founders of the country realized that imprisoning people before they have had a trial creates great injustices. Incarceration is a severe form of punishment, and people who have not been convicted should not suffer from imprisonment.
How to Arrange a Bail Bond
After an arrest, a bail bond must be obtained through a bail bondsman. A bail bond company, like Rader Bonding Co., manages these things. Many bail bonding agencies are located close to the county jails in states where bail bonds are used. The defendant or a person on the defendant’s behalf can contact a bonding agency, which are open 24/7/365. The bondsman will take the information and contact the jail to arrange the defendant’s release. Bail bonds generally cost 10 to 15 percent of the bail amount. For example, if the court set a defendant’s bail at $10,000, the bondsman will charge the defendant or a person on their behalf $1,000 to $1,500. The bondsman then pays the remainder. This makes bail affordable. Many bonding agencies provide payment plans.
What Happens if You Skip Bail?
The court issues a warrant for your arrest. Also, the bail bondsman will attempt to take you into custody, generally by hiring a bounty hunter. If the bail bondsman fails to return the defendant to court, he or she loses the entire bond amount. For that reason, they are generally willing to pay a bounty hunter to find the defendant.
Bail bonds provide defendants with the opportunity to get out of jail quickly with much lower cost than paying the full bail. The bail bonds fee is nonrefundable. Defendants who can afford the full bail without a bail bond can pay it themselves and be refunded the full amount once the court case is completed. In states where bail bonds are not permitted, the courts generally allow release if the defendant posts bond equivalent to 10 percent of the bail.
Author Info: Rachelle Wilber is a freelance writer living in the San Diego, California area. She graduated from San Diego State University with her Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and Media Studies. She tries to find an interest in all topics and themes, which prompts her writing. When she isn’t on her porch writing in the sun, you can find her shopping, at the beach, or at the gym. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook: @RachelleWilber.