Bail Bonds FAQ
- What is a bail bond?
- How much does a bail bond cost?
- How long does it take?
- What happens if I don't have the money?
- Can I receive a refund of bail money?
A bail bond is a legal contract that guarantees a defendant’s constitutional rights to bail are upheld. Bail is an amount set by a judge or magistrate that allows an arrested individual to leave lockup to await a court trial if ordered. The bail amount is contingent upon many factors including the state of the arrest, type of infraction, and level of the offense. The bail agent has an agreement with the court that the defendant will appear and the entire obligation of the bail will be satisfied.
The common cost of bail is a typical 10% of the posted amount set by the judge. As many posted bails tend to reach at least $1000, a minimum $100 bail posting is expected. This amount could vary state to state. Some states require 10% for state but 15% for federal bail amounts, while others have a flat 15% rate for all bail amounts.
The time to initiate the bail bond process could be as quick as placing a phone call or contacting a trusted bail bond agent online, and there is usually 24/7 access to a bail agent. The actual time between jail intake and release would depend on the procedures of the booking facility and the number of detainees. The typical order of getting out for bail is a first in, first released rotation. This could span from a number of minutes to a matter of hours, especially on evenings, weekends and holidays.
Because nobody plans a trip to jail, the idea of bail could cause some serious financial strain, and often the money needed for bail is not available. Bonding agents are aware of this, so some provide payment plans or other options for co-signers or collateral to cover costs. A co-signer would step in to take responsibility for the court appearance and the bail repayment if the defendant defaults. Collateral would be forfeited to the bond agent to secure a detainee’s bail. Collateral is often posted in the forms of cash, real estate, car titles or a combination of other assets of value.
All monies posted for bail are non-refundable. Because the amount is only a portion of the totality of the bail, the amount posted is applied towards finalizing the contract. The payment of bail is to secure the release of the arrested party. In the unlikelihood that the party is not released after posting bail, then a refund of bail money would be warranted.
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