Understanding The Bail Bond System
The bail system is not difficult to understand but if you have never been arrested, you might never have been exposed to how it all works. If you find yourself needing bail, it is important to know who to call for help. The local bail bonds companies can help you but you need to understand the requirements and the expectation of the bond company.
What is a Bail Bond?
A bail bond, sometimes called a surety bond, is an agreement set by the court that says you can await trial on a charge outside of the jail. The court sets an amount of money that you must pay to get released as a way to ensure you will show up for your trial. The amount of money is set according to your flight risk. If the court does not think you will show up for trial, the bond will be set very high. Often a bail bond company will post your bail but because of the money they stand to lose if you don't appear, they take responsibility for you and keep track of you until the court date.
The bail bond company is not going to bail you out until they have some information about you, the charge, and a reasonably good feeling about you showing up for court. The bond company will meet with you at the jail and talk to you about your charge and your ability to pay the fees associated with the bond. If you have collateral you can put up against the bond, they will want to discuss that as well. This process is more about getting a feel for who you are and if they feel you will appear in court when you are supposed to.
Collateral and the Bond
If you are considered a high risk, the bond company may ask you to submit some collateral for the bond. You can not use a house with a mortgage or a car with a loan on it. Often the collateral is a percentage of the bond in cash or property that is owned without debt on it. If you do not appear in court, you will forfeit your collateral and the bond company will start to look for you so they can return you to jail. The only way the bond company gets their money back from the court is to get you in front of the judge, so understand if you decide to skip your court date, the bond agents are going to come and take you back to jail. It is important to appear in court and follow the rules of the bail bond company you are working with.
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