Three Important Facts About Bail Bonds
The process of posting bail and dealing with bail bonds can be confusing. However, there is no need to fret! Here are three basic facts that can help you learn a little bit about bail and bail bonds.
- Bail is a document, not the money itself.
Many people are confused as to what bail really is. A bail bond is documentation that is given to the court so that a defendant can be released from jail and police custody. The document given to the court is basically a contract or a promise that the defendant (the person arrested) will return back for court hearings and trials if they are allowed to go free for the time being.
Oftentimes, the person who was arrested allegedly committed a crime that is considered serious, and thus, they may be considered a danger to themselves or others. When this is thought to be the case, the bail bond stipulates that a certain amount of money (sometimes a large sum) must be given to the court as a “deposit” of sorts; this is to increase the chances of the defendant returning for court dates as per the bail agreement.
- Bail is determined by a judge or court official.
A judge (or court magistrate) is the one who determines how much money and under what conditions bail can be granted. Usually a close friend or family member of the defendant must get in touch with a bail agent so that he or she can make arrangements with the court to post bail.
Whoever contacts the court and agrees to the conditions of the bail is considered an indemnitor or guarantor. This person is responsible for paying the court the full amount of the bail if the defendant doesn’t show up for subsequent trials and hearings.
- Often, collateral is collected in the bail process.
The bail bond agent may ask for collateral to secure him or herself against a “loss.” Loss is when the defendant does not show up for trial after being released on bail.
Collateral can be anything from property and jewelry to cold, hard cash. Collateral is also taken as a kind of deposit to ensure that the defendant will show up for court or the bond will be paid in full. If the defendant shows up for all court appearances as required, the guarantor will receive their collateral back.