What Exactly is a Bail Bondsman and How Does the Process Work?

If you or anyone you know ever becomes in need of a bail bondsman, you might feel a but confused on what exactly a bail bondsman does and how does the bail system work? The system can be complex and there are definitely some things to factor when deciding bail and if a person is eligible, but here is a quick overview.

What exactly is bail?

When a person is arrested and taken into custody, a judge will most likely decide on a set amount of money (unless the charge in an unbailable offence). This price kind of act as an insurance policy with the court so that the defendant does not flee and shows up to their court date but still gets the opportunity not to have to stay in jail while waiting for their hearing. Depending on the severity of the crime committed, the cost of bail cold be anywhere in the hundreds all the way to the millions. Now there are several types of bonds out there but the two most common would be cash bail where one would have the resources to bail themselves out with their own money or there is a surety bond where one would hire a bail bondsman to assist in securing a release.

What is a surety bond?

As said, if one does not have the money to bail themselves out, they will most likely turn to a bail bondsman for a surety bond. A surety bond is bond that essentially acts like an insurance with the courts. The bail bondsman secures the bond and guarantees either that the defendant shows up to court in terms of criminal cases or that the defendant pays their debt when it comes to civil cases. 

How does one get a bail bond?

If someone is ever in need of a bail bondsman, they would first need to give them some basic information including name, address, where they are being held, and details about the crime committed. Also if the person has a co-signer, that can also be helpful. From that point the bondsman will assess risk and if it makes sense for them to take the person on, they would just require 10% of the total bail cost as well as some type of collateral (or the collateral of a co-signer) to ensure that the person shows up to their court date. At that point, if for any reason the person does not show to their date, the bail bondsman would be required to pay the remaining 90% and they would do that with whatever collateral was given. If however, the person does show up to their hearing as promised, no more money would be owed.

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