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How Bail Bonds Work

Bail Bonds

How bail bonds work is no great mystery. When a person is arrested, he or she will appear before a judge who will set a dollar amount for bail. The purpose of bail is to allow a person to be released from jail, while providing an incentive for him or her to return to court to face trial. In many situations, a bail schedule is exists by which bail can be posted more quickly than by waiting to appear before a judge.

Types of bail bonds

There are four types of bail bonds that may be assessed. The amount does not necessarily impact which one(s) is available.

Cash bond

A cash bond means that the defendant must pay the entire amount of the bail in cash. If the amount exceeds the cash resources of the arrested person, they must wait in jail until the money can be raised.

Ten percent bond

Some jurisdictions now allow ten percent of the total bail to be paid instead of the full amount. This is similar to the practice of bond companies who usually charge ten percent of the total bail as a fee for posting bail. In the case of a ten percent bond, the money is refunded to the defendant if he or she meets the conditions of the assessed bail.

Signature bond

A signature bond does not require that any money be paid. The defendant signs a pledge to return to court at the appointed time, and is released on his or her own recognizance.

Surety bond

This is probably the most familiar method to the public about how bail bonds work. This involves using a bail bond service. The company agrees to post the full amount of bail, usually charging the arrested individual ten percent of the total amount. If the defendant returns to court as directed, the bond is refunded to the service, but no money is returned to the defendant. If the person needing bail does not have the necessary cash, it may be possible to arrange for property to be used as collateral.

Bail bonds work against the defendant should he or she fail to appear in court. Money paid is forfeited, and in the case of a ten percent bond, the full amount of the bail will have to be paid. If a bonding service is used, they can sue the defendant for the full amount, as they are responsible for the total bail.

This article is for informational purposes only and is not intended as legal advice. If legal guidance and assistance is needed, contact a local attorney for help.

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