How Bail Works

A Bail Bond Company/Licensed Bondsman allows you to have a friend or family member be released from jail without having to pay the full amount of the bail. In most states, as required by law, a Bail Bond Company/Licensed Bondsman must charge 10% of the bail amount and guarantees the Court that the defendant will appear to all required Court hearings.

If the judge has given the Defendant the option of posting a bail bond, then the Defendant may turn to a bail bondsman to post the bail. Otherwise, the Defendant and his family will be forced to deposit the entire bail amount in cash with the court. The bail bond is a contract between the bail agent (bondsman), the courts, and the person posting the bail (co-signer). The bail agents, as well as the co-signers are the people who are responsible for the defendant showing up for all their court appearances.

Money, in the form of a bond, is required by the court as an incentive to keep the defendant from fleeing once released. The bail agent charges a fee for the posting of this bond. The fee is 10% of the face amount of the bond posted- called the premium. For example, if the bail amount is $25,000.00, then the premium owed to the bail bondsman will be $2,500.00. However, unlike the cash deposited with the court, a bail bondsman does not need the premium all at once. A bondsman can work out a payment arrangement whereby the Defendant can pay the premium in payments like a loan or a credit card. Once the bond is posted, the premium is non-refundable.

The amount of bail is set by the court and is dependent upon the severity of the crime as well as how much of a flight risk the defendant is deemed. Collateral is usually required to ensure that the bond is secure, and the bail agent is indemnified against loss in the event that the defendant fails to appear.

The bail agent provides a guarantee to the court that the defendant will appear in court when summoned by the judge. The defendant will also have to check in regularly with the bail agent as a condition of his or her release.

Bail bonds are granted when a family member or friend contacts the bail agent before the defendant is released. Arrangements are made for the posting of a bail. After an agreement is signed, the bail agent posts a bond for the amount of the bail.

If the defendant fails to check in, and the bail agent or the co-signer is unable to locate the defendant, the co-signer is immediately responsible for the full amount of the bail. After the defendant is located and arrested by the bail agent, the co-signer is responsible for all of the bail agent's expenses while looking for the defendant.

After the defendant has completed all court appearances and the case is closed, the bail bond will be dissolved and any collateral given to the bail bondsman will be returned to the defendant or whoever posted the bond.