Bail Bonds FAQ
What exactly is a bail bond?
The primary purpose of a bail bond is to provide a defendant the means to be released from jail while a charge is pending. An agreement is executed between a bail bondsman, the defendant, and the justice system where money is required by the bail bondsman from the defendant and any other co-signer for the release of the defendant along with assurance that the defendant will appear at all future court hearings.
How much money is required to obtain a bail bond?
States vary on the amount of money required for a bail bond. California requires the premium of 10% of the total bail amount. If the bail amount is $5,000, the defendant would be required to put down $500 to meet the California state premium. There are certain circumstances that can lower the 10% premium depending on the bail bond agency.
Is collateral required for a bail bond?
Collateral is typically not necessary for a bail bond. However, if collateral is required, it is usually in the form of real estate or cash. An agency can also accept the title to a vehicle or any other high value item as a form of collateral. A promissory note is combined with an indemnity agreement when collateral is necessary. The indemnity agreement is executed to ensure that the entire amount of the bond will be paid if it is forfeited.
What happens if the defendant misses a court appearance?
The court will automatically forfeit a bond as soon as a defendant misses a scheduled court date. There is usually a certain amount of time that the defendant can be found and returned to court to rectify the missed appearance. This is especially true if the defendant did not appear due to a mistake and fully cooperates with the bail bond agency and the court system. However, the blatant disregard for a court hearing by the defendant being uncooperative can result in the full bail amount being due in addition to any costs incurred in attempts to find the defendant such as the hiring of bail investigators.
What is a co-signer responsible for?
A co-signer or multiple co-signers are used to assist a defendant meet bail. Co-signers will be required to fulfill the entire bond amount in the worst case scenario where the defendant leaves the jurisdiction and does not meet all of the requirements put forth by the court. A co-signer is also responsible for assisting the bail agency locate the defendant following a missed court appearance, as well as any costs that the bail agency acquired in attempts to locate the defendant.
Will my money be returned?
The 10% premium serves as the fee for the bail agency and is non-refundable. Collateral will be returned if the defendant meets all of the requirements set forth by the court system regarding the charge.