How Do Bail Bonds Work?

A bail is a fee set by the Nevada Court that a defendant needs to pay for a conditional release from jail until the date of Court trial. Usually, the amount is fixed at a certain percentage of the total fees that the offender or his family members need to pay for a release. 

In order to understand how bail bonds work in Las Vegas, it is important to know the process and adhere to the rules and procedures set within the judiciary system

The process of bail bonds

As soon as a person is arrested for an offence, they are taken to the local jail. Routine paperwork which includes filling the details of the offender, their past history, details of the crime, etc are noted and added to the records. 

The process may run for a couple of hours. These days, past records and filing systems have become automated, which helps in saving time. 

The defendant is then taken to a judge who sets a court date as well as fixes an amount as the bail money that is to be paid for a conditional release. 

What is a conditional release?

A conditional release means paying the bail amount and signing a legal agreement which ensures that the defendant will appear in the Court at the time of trial. 

A bail amount is usually very large and can run up to several thousand dollars. In many cases, this is not easy to manage by the defendant or his family. 

This is where a bail bondsman (or an agency) comes into play. They will charge you a fixed percentage of the bail amount and pay the complete amount to the court. State laws limit the percentage which the bail bondsman can charge from a defendant. 

The bail bondsman will then post the bail on your behalf which initiates the release process. 

The inmate will need to sign a pre-release order that outlines the conditions of their release. The conditions are dependent on the intensity of the crime, repetitiveness, etc. 

Once your court dates are over and provided that all conditions are met, the bail amount is returned back (regardless of acquittal or conviction). The money goes back to you or the person who posted the bail on your behalf (or the bail bondsman). In this way, the bail bonds agent gets his money back plus the small premium you pay them for the services. 

And you get a conditional release without having to arrange for the complete bail amount at one go!

Procedures to get out of jail

Following are some of the common procedures for a defendant to get out of jail in Nevada:

  • Cash bonds- It means paying the entire amount of the bail and getting a conditional release from the jail.
  • Surety bonds- This is a condition when the defendant is unable to pay the amount and requires the help of a bail bondsman agency to do it on their behalf. The defendant or his family will then pay a percentage of the amount to the bail bondsman and sign a surety bond
  • Property bonds- For serious criminal cases, the bail amount can be exceptionally high. In these circumstances, the defender (or his relatives) might need to keep their property or important assets in lieu of bail money. However, for bails in Nevada, it is important that the property being pulled out is within the state. 
  • Own recognizance- This is for cases where bail money is not required to be paid but the Court instead asks for a recommendation letter (from Nevada Pretrial Services) to allow a release. 

What does a bail bond cost in Las Vegas?

The total cost of a bail bond is dependent on the amount set for the bail and the bail amount is dependent on the type of crime. 

Most companies in Nevada adhere to the state laws which allow them to charge upto 15% of the bail amount. 

Most leading bail bonds agencies offer installment plans for payment of the complete amount, especially if the bail amount is very high. 

What if you skip the bail?

Jumping a bail happens when the defendant fails to show up for the court date. 

In such circumstances, the person who posted the bail (either a relative or the bail bondsman) will have to pay the entire amount to the court as per the signed agreement. 

In an event that the amount is unavailable, the court can then seize the defendant’s assets like property, car, etc or collect the amount through revenue services like tax garnishments. 

A bail bond agency also then has the legal right to turn you over to the authorities for further action. 

Skipping a bail is, therefore, never advisable. Read our article on “What happens if you don’t pay bail bonds?” for more details. 

Final words

Bail bonds are meant to bring normalcy and ease in your life until the court trials are over. The conditional release can be sought from the Court but the process can sometimes be confusing, and definitely not comfortable on the pocket. 

Bail bondsman agencies are there to help you navigate through the process smoothly. However, it is your legal and moral responsibility to make your court appearances and respect the law.