Understanding Bail and Bail Bonds
Bail is a fee that is paid by the defendant and held as collateral by the court. When someone has been arrested and is facing trial, the courts will set a bail amount to ensure that that person/defendant will show for their hearing. When the defendant shows for their court appearance, the bail is returned minus any court fees that may have been incurred. A bail bond, also known as a surety bond, is a binding agreement with a third party who pledges to be held culpable for a defendant’s bail if the defendant fails to appear in court.
There are multiple types of bail.
A cash bond is mostly commonly thought of as bail. It is an agreement in which the defendant must pay the full amount of their bail in cash (although some courts can accept credit cards). Depending on how much of a flight risk the defendant presents, the court can set this bail at a relatively high or low amount.
The court can also place a lien on a person’s property as a way of covering their bail. If the accused misses court appearances, the court can take possession of this property as a way of covering the cost of bail.
A first-time defendant or someone that presents a low flight risk can be let go on personal recognizance by the courts. This means that the defendant signs an agreement with the court stating that they will attend their court date. Failure to comply with this agreement could result in the defendant being taken into custody.
What Is a Bail Bond?
Most of the time, the defendant cannot afford to pay cash for the bail amount, and often, they don’t have the property to cover their bail with a property bond. That is where bail bonds become invaluable. A bail bond, also known as a surety bond, is a binding agreement with a third party who pledges to be held culpable for a defendant’s bail if the defendant fails to appear in court. This third party is known as the bail bondsman. A bail bond usually costs 10% of the bail. For example, if the bail amount is set at $25,000, the bail bond would cost $2,500.