About Bail Bonding
You may be wondering how bail bonding works.
When someone is arrested for a crime, three courses of action usually take place:
They are held in jail until the date of their trial
They are held in jail until the judge decides to let them go
They are held in jail until they are released on bail
What Is Bail?
Bail is monetary insurance between the court and the defendant that ensures that they’ll show up on their court date. Defendants can pay for their bail with cash, but most of the time bail is set higher than most defendants can afford all at once. Because defendants usually can’t pay bail by themselves, they seek out an advocate to pay their bail, such as a bail bondsman. Bail isn’t a criminal punishment for the crime that the defendant was arrested for. Bail is meant to ensure that the defendant shows up to court on their court date. Bail serves as an important part of the criminal legal system since it keeps jails less crowded while also making sure that criminal defendants return to court when their court date comes.
What Is A Bail Bond?
A bail bond is a type of bond paid by a bail agent or bail bondsman which enables the defendant to be released from jail “on bond”. Bail bonds come in two common types. The first type of bail bond is known as a criminal bail bond. Criminal bail bonds are used to make sure that criminal defendants show up to court when summoned for their hearing and also ensure that they pay any court-ordered fines or penalties. The second type of bail bond is known as a civil bail bond and is used in civil court cases. Civil bail bonds ensure payment of debts, interest, and costs as ordered by a judge in a civil case. Contact us if you are in need of Gulf Shores, Bay Minette, or Baldwin County bail bonds
How Do Bail Bonds Work?
If bail is set during the course of a criminal or civil trial and the defendant (commonly) cannot afford to pay the full amount, the defendant can get a bail bond through a bail bondsman.
The usual amount owed to the bail bondsman for posting the defendant’s bail is 10% of the bail amount. The rest of the bail will often be secured through the defendant’s collateral (personal property that has a value equal to the amount owed) and potentially the collateral of the defendant’s cosigner(s) if the defendant doesn’t have enough collateral.
After bail is paid to the court, the defendant is released and ordered to appear in court on a specific date.
Whether or not the defendant shows up to court on this set court date determines what happens next. If the defendant does not appear in court on the specified court date, the bail bond is forfeited, and the bail bondsman uses the defendant’s collateral to reclaim the rest of the bail amount. If the defendant does appear in court on the specified court date, the bail bond is cleared, and the bail amount (minus the 10% bail bondsman fee) is returned to the defendant.
Below is just an example of the entire process that occurs after a defendant is arrested for a crime. This process can vary.
When the defendant is placed under arrest, they are taken into police custody by police officers. This process involves transporting the defendant to a local police facility for processing or “booking”. In some cases, the defendant may be released without charges being filed, but if charges are filed, the defendant will remain in custody until bail is posted, the judge makes a judgment, or the case is resolved some other way.
Booking is the processing that occurs at the police facility following the arrest. This process involves multiple tasks, such as taking a photo, taking down personal information, taking fingerprints, taking any physical possessions, and placing those possessions into a storage facility, searching for any active warrants out on the defendant, doing a health evaluation, and putting the defendant into a detainment holding area.
After booking, one of three thing will usually happen: First, the defendant will be released with a written order to appear in court. Second, the defendant will be released only after posting bail. Third, the defendant will be held in custody until after the courts can hold a bail hearing.
Which of these occurs is determined by state law and the nature of the offense that the defendant was arrested for. If the offense was tame in nature, the defendant may be released without bail. If the offense was serious or violent in nature, the defendant may be held until the court can have a bail hearing.
What Are Bail Schedules?
Bail schedules are listings which give information on a standard bail amount, based on the crime committed, in a given jurisdiction.
States laws determine bail amounts for given crimes, whether a defendant can be released without bail, and whether or not defendants must wait for a bail hearing or can post bail directly after booking. Bail schedules do, however, usually allow judges to set bail amounts lower or higher on a case-by-case basis.
What Are Bail Hearings
Bail hearings are held to determine how much bail will be applied to a specific case. Depending on state laws, courts may not have to set bail and can hold a defendant until their court date.
What Are Bail Conditions
Bail conditions may be set along with a bail amount. These conditions are like rules that the defendant must follow in order to stay out on bail. If a defendant breaks any of these conditions while out on bail, they can be taken back into custody until their trial.
Each jurisdiction also makes the procedures for paying bail. Usually, the process is carried out by an advocate of the defendant traveling to a courthouse, where a clerk who takes bail payments is waiting. The payer will then give the clerk information such as the defendant’s name, the case or booking number, and the bail amount to be paid. The bail is then paid and the clerk notifies the officers who are keeping the defendant in custody. The defendant is then released from jail. This process can take up to a few hours depending on the proximity between the facilities.