It is common for people to not know what to expect regarding bail bonds until they or a loved one is arrested. As such, they often ask the same questions about bail, the bonding process, how to get in touch with a bail bondsman, and the associated costs. Here, we attempt to provide answers to FAQs for bail bonds.
Watch our video above for an explanation of the bail bond process. Learn more about how bail bonds work.
There is certain information that a bail agent will need in order to help you:
There are four ways in which a person may be released from custody.
There are a few exceptions to this but you do not get your premium back that you paid to the bonding office. This fee is what allowed the defendant to get out of jail and is fully earned once the defendant is out of custody. For example if the defendant gets rearrested a week later you get no portion nor a refund of any money. If the bondsman fails to live up to his end of the contract then and only then you may be entitled to a refund of some kind.
There are remedies that can be done here as well, contact the bondsmen as soon as possible so that they can discuss your option in full detail with you. You can read more about what to do when a person fails to show up for their court appearance.
You will have to get permission from the bonding office in writing before attempting to do so. If the court has given you direct instructions not to leave the state or country you must then get permission from the bail agent and the court before leaving. Otherwise you are subject to arrest.
The rate that you pay a bail agent depends on the state's statutes and regulations. For example, in some states, there are companies that can legally charge 8%, while the allowable premium is set at 10% for others. If a company that agrees to discount their fee, they may lose their license. Some companies try and lead you into believing that you will receive a discount but in the end actually charge you the whole amount. Always ask to see a rate chart if you feel that you are being wrongly charged. If you are interested in the allowable bail bonds premiums, you can visit our bail cost page.
Like discounts, the general costs in your area depend on the locale's statutes and regulations. Bonding agents are generally licensed and regulated by the state. The guiding principle is that the premium rates are not to be "excessive, inadequate, or unfairly discriminatory." If you are interested in the cheapest bail bonds in your area, you can visit here to find out what the rates that allowed by law in your area.
Each bonding office will have their own standards but for the most part you can expect them to accept various forms of bail collateral. Some example of collateral include:
Once the defendant is back in custody the bond can be surrendered and your liability will be terminated. There are a few problems here: if you decided to surrender the bond you will lose the premium that was paid, and if you decided to get the defendant out on bond again, you will now have to post two new bonds and pay the premium on both bonds again.
The bail bond system arises out of common law. The posting money or property in exchange for temporary release pending a trial dates back to 13th century England. The modern commercial practice of bail bonds has continued to evolve in the United States while it has since ceased to exist in most modern nation-states. You can read more about the history of bail bonds here.
If you don’t have a surety or live in an area that does not allow private bail bonds, which include Massachusetts, Maine, Oregon, Illinois, Kentucky, Nebraska, Wisconsin, and Washington, D.C., your options are most likely through the court and the local jail. Read this article about what to do in a state that doesn't have private bail.
If you need to hire a bail agent, you can search throughout the United States for a pre-screened bail agent with AboutBail's trusted network.