When you or someone close to you is arrested, it is obviously a trying time. It is important to know how in simple terms, bail and bonds differ. Bail is a dollar figure amount set by a judge to allow the accused, or defendant, to be released from jail until the trial date.
A bail bond is a promise by a surety insurance company that the defendant will follow the bail conditions and appear for his or her court dates. If the defendant breaks the bond conditions, the defendant can be re-arrested and taken back to jail. If the defendant fails to appear in court as required and can’t be located, the bail bondsman will attempt to find him or her and return him or her to jail. If the defendant is not found and returned to jail within the grace period allowed by the court, the bail bondsman and the surety insurance company he represents must pay the forfeited bail amount to the court.
If bail is paid in cash and the defendant abides by all of the conditions set forth in the bail conditions and appears for his or her trial, bail will be refunded, no matter the verdict. It is important to understand that bail is not punishment. It is an assurance that the defendant will appear in court and abide by any conditions set forth while out on bail.
With a property bond, such as a security interest in a vehicle or real estate to secure a bail bond, if all bail conditions are met, the lien will be released.
Bail through Bond
When a third-party bail agent becomes involved, the fee for posting the bail bond is an insurance premium paid to the surety insurance company he represents, usually 10%. That is the amount you will need to pay the bondsman and the bondsman pays the premium to his surety insurance company, less his commission for his services.
For example, if bail is set at $1,000 and you need a bond, you will need to pay the bondsman $100, which he will in turn pay to his surety insurance company. If the defendant appears for trial and meets the conditions of bail, nothing further is needed. There is no refund of that insurance premium to the defendant. The bondsman is taking a risk. If the defendant does not comply with the bail conditions or misses the trial date, the bondsman may be required to pay the court the entire $1,000.
What if the Defendant is Found Guilty?
As long as the defendant complies with bail conditions and appears in court on the date of his or her trial, any cash bail paid will be refunded to the defendant. Since a bail bond is the surety insurance company’s promise to pay the court only if bail is forfeited, there is no refund to the surety company. Again, bail is set for the release of the defendant before trial. It has nothing to do with the verdict, although those previously convicted of a crime will often be required to pay a higher bail amount than those arrested for the first time.
You can find the right bail bondsman for you by looking through the bondsmen listed on the Bail Agent Network. Most are available day or night, 24/7.