We hear the word “bond” many times in the news when someone is arrested. So-and-so has been released on xxx amount of bond. But do you know how the bail process works and what happens when someone is unable to pay the full cash amount which is suggested for bail? Read on to find out more about the system and how / when the bail bonds company comes into play.
How does the bail process work?
When someone is arrested, they are taken to the local jail. The booking process for the accused person takes about 1 – 3 hours. After the person is booked for his felony, they have two options. Either stay in jail until the date of the hearing or pay a bail amount which will allow the individual to return to the community until the date of the trial. The hearing date can be set anywhere in the next weeks or even months.
If the person chooses to stay in jail, he or she will reside there until the case is satisfied. The process usually takes more than a month and a couple of trips to the court for appearance, depending on the severity of the case.
The bail is a set amount that acts as insurance between the court and the arrested person. The bail amount ensures that the arrested person will show up in jail for the court proceedings. The amount of the bail is set by the judge depending on the nature of the crime. The accused person again has two options when paying a bail amount. Either they can pay the amount of bail fully in cash or seek the help of a bail bonds company.
How does a bail bond company work?
Many times the defendants or the accused person does not have enough money to pay the bond amount. For this they take help from a bail bond company also known as bail bondsmen or a bail agent. The bail bond company will pay the entire amount of bond on your behalf allowing you to be free from the jail. The bail bond company also guarantees to the court that the defendant will show up in court at the time of hearing each and every time they are asked.
The bail bond agencies charge the defendants 10 % of the full bond amount. For example, if your bail amount is set for $10,000 then the bail bonds company will charge the defendant a non-refundable fee of $1000. The bail bond companies usually involve the family and friends of the defendants to assure that the defendant released on the bond will show up in the court on the date of the trial. The bail bond companies also take something as an asset in the form of collateral. Collateral can be anything of value used to financially secure a bail bond. It can be the defendant’s car, property, jewelry, etc. that the bail bond company will hold until the case is resolved. The bail bonds agency will return the collateral to the defendant as soon as the case is resolved in the court.
How do bail bond companies make money?
The bail bond companies receive a refund of the full bail amount that they paid to the court if the defendant appears for trial as promised. The bail bond agencies make profit from the premium (10%) that the defendants pay them from the full bail amount. However, if the defendant does not appear in the court on the scheduled date, the bail bond company will take over the collateral that the defendant gave to them upon signing the agreement. For example, if a person puts up his or her house as collateral, then the bail bond company can seal the property and sell it to recover the cost of the lost bail bond money.
Many bonds company employ bounty hunters, also known as bail enforcement agent to track down delinquent defendants. When the person out on a bail fails to show up in court as agreed, the bail bond company will take the help of bounty hunters to track them down and hand them over to the appropriate authorities. The bounty hunters, for their service receive around 10 – 20 percent of the total bail amount and are authorized to search the defendant’s house without a warrant.
Bounty hunters job is tough – driving around bad neighborhoods, talking to other people, finding information, searching for the bad guys. But they are known to be more effective than the police. The bounty hunters can also go beyond the limits to capture their targets. At many incidents, the harmful behaviors of the bounty hunters have affected not only their fugitives but also innocent bystanders.
United States is the only country where bounty hunting is legal. But of course, the laws differ from state to state. Many states require the bounty hunters to be licensed. But when the defendants sign an agreement with a bail bond company, they not only agree to appear in the court, they also agree that if they don’t obey to the rules – they will get a bounty hunter after them. The bounty hunters are more powerful than the police and only need to show the arrested person the agreement that they signed with the bail bond company.
Of course, there are limitations for bounty hunters. They are not allowed to take their search outside the United States. If a bounty hunter is found outside the boundary of untied states, he or she can get arrested or even killed.
There are many companies that offer their services for a bail bond working within the United States. It is much cheaper for the defendant to pay the full amount of bail on his or her own. If the defendant pays the bail amount himself, he will get a refund for the full bail amount after the case is resolved. But many people don’t have enough money to pay the full amount of bail and have to seek help from a third-party. Bail bond agencies are helpful but there are risks involved with using such companies.
But as long as the defendant appears in the court as scheduled, he or she is at no risk of losing much except the 10 % premium. But if he or she fails to appear in the court or tries to run from the authorities – then watch out! A bounty hunter might come looking for you!