Once an individual is arrested and charged with an offense, they may be able to get out of jail by obtaining a bond or posting bail. A judge decides the amount of bail based on issues like:
- The seriousness of the crime committed.
- The chances of an offender committing crime after being released
- The chances that the suspect may flee before trial
A judge has the right to deny bail or set a bail that is reasonably fair. Although the Eighth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution prohibits “excessive bail.” It doesn’t say that courts must allow bails.
Bail Vs. Bond
Many people use bail and bond as synonyms, which is wrong because they have a very different meaning when it comes to jail release.
Below are the main differences between bond and bail.
The primary difference between a bail bond and cash bail is the cost. A bail bond has a lower upfront cost, but it’s more costly in the long term.
Here is the explanation.
To post cash bail, you must pay the whole amount for the offender. However, to get a bond, only a certain percentage of the amount is required upfront.
For example, if a judge sets a $5000 bond and $5000 bail, the family has to pay the whole $5000 for bail.
However, to get a bond, they would have been required to pay a bond fee of around $460, some collateral, and 10% of the bond ($500).
That’s $960 for a bond and $5000 for bail.
Although a bond has a low-cost upfront, it costs more in the long-term. A family that posted bail will get 3% ($150) less their money, which is a fee assessment of cases ending in a conviction. This doesn’t include the opportunity cost of having $5000 in a non-interest earning account.
On the other hand, if they had obtained bond, they would have received their collateral back, but lose the fee, meaning their cost would accrue to $460
Anyone can post bail for an offender, but only a licensed bond agent can post a bail bond.
So, if a family chooses to go for the bond, they must find an agency that’s ready to sign for it.
All agents have their requirements in determining whether they should offer a bond or not.
Here are some of the standard requirements of bond agents.
Income and Employment of Indemnitor
Agents will require the person signing a bond (indemnitor) to have a stable job with a reasonable yearly income. This is to ensure they can cover the necessary costs in case the offender fails to show up.
If the offender has a record of not showing up, there’s a possibility that they might not appear in court.
The agent may either decline to serve a bond or charge more in terms of collateral required, to cover the risks.
The Indemnitor and Defendant Location
A defendant who lives outside the country is likely to flee. Similarly, it may be harder to track down indemnitors who live outside the country.
If a bonds agency thinks there are too many risks involved, they might not serve the bond.
To conclude, money isn’t the only requirement a family needs to cover a bond fee. They require a willing bondsman who’s willing to work with them too.
Both posting bail and obtaining a bond has different requirements for the defendant and indemnitors over the case period.
With cash bail, there is only one condition. The offender must make their appearances. Failure to which the bail is lost.
With the bail bond, the offender still has to show up and failure to which will lead to losing the bonder. The indemnitor also has to pay for the remaining costs.
With a bond, both parties must follow other requirements based on the bond agreement. If they don’t comply, the bond is revoked, and the offender is sent back to jail.
How the Bail Process Works
After being arrested, all paperwork is filed, and the defendant is placed in jail.
After 48 hours, a bail hearing is posted. The possible rulings include.
Release on Own Recognizance. The offender is released by signing an agreement promising to show up on the required date and adhere to all other conditions.
Personal Bond. The offender is released after signing a bond which states that they’ll be charged with criminal and civil penalties for failing to appear in court.
Bail Set with Terms & Conditions. A person may be released upon posting bail personally all through a bond company.
Denial of Bail. The person was seen as a threat to the republic
Bail Bond Companies
In most cases, a bail bond is set beyond the financial abilities of many families. The latter may approach a bail bond company, which charges a non-refundable 10-20% of the total bond cost, to serve the bond for the offender.
The bail bond signs a surety bond, which means they accept the responsibility for the full bond amount if the person doesn’t show up.
The defendant agrees to show up and being monitored by the bail bond company. If they don’t show up in court, the company can hire a bounty hunter to track them back.
If your family member is arrested, you have a chance to post cash bail or obtain a bail bond to have them released before their trial.
The process is important as it gives them time to calm down from the trauma of the court proceedings, surrounded by their loved ones.
Understanding the concept of bail bonds and cash bails will help you make an informed decision on the way forward.