The Ultimate Guide to Understanding Bail Bonds

If your friend or loved one is arrested, it can be stressful. Fortunately, you can help them get out of jail by paying bail. Additionally, if concerns arise about the potential impact of their arrest record and mugshot on their online reputation, exploring mugshot removal services may be a consideration to address these issues.

Bail is the amount of money or other security that a court sets in exchange for release from custody and ensures that the accused will appear for all assigned court dates.

What is a Bail Bond?

A bail bond is a financial security provided by friends and family to guarantee that the accused will attend their court dates. Since most people arrested for a crime don’t have enough cash to make bail, bonds are often the best option.

Typically, to obtain bail bonds Allentown, PA, the defendant’s family will pay 10% or less of the total bail amount to a private company called a bail bondsman. The accused will also have to promise something of value, such as their home or car, which the bail agent will hold as collateral if the defendant fails to appear for their court dates.

Because the bail bond company is taking on some risk, they’re often picky about who they lend money to. They can lose significant money if the accused flees or fails to appear in court. However, a good lawyer can sometimes negotiate to reduce the bail needed to secure a release from jail.

How Does a Bail Bond Work?

Bail is one of the tools that courts use to ensure that a criminal defendant appears for court appointments. A judge must decide whether to grant bail and how much.

A judge may also impose conditions on the release of the accused, such as drug testing, phone or in-person check-ins, and court date reminders. This reduces the chance of the accused skipping bail and going on the run.

An arrested person can pay their bail in cash or contact a bail bond agent. A bail bond is similar to a personal loan, where the accused pays only a percentage of the total amount, and a bail agent provides the rest. This process can be especially helpful for people with a poor credit history or struggling to afford their bail amounts. A bail bond company can even get property to put up as collateral. The property will be returned if the accused follows all of the terms of their pretrial release.

What is the Difference Between Bail and Bond?

Bail and bond are two options for a person accused of a crime to remain out of jail while waiting for their court date. The difference between the two is subtle but important.

Bail is a set amount of money that, once paid, allows the defendant to return home and wait for their court date in a comfortable, familiar environment. In the US, anyone who is not a flight risk or a danger to society can be eligible for bail if charged with a non-capital crime.

Bond is different because it involves a 3rd party that guarantees the defendant will appear in court. The defendant must put up collateral to cover the bond cost to obtain a bond. The collateral is returned when the defendant appears in court for all their future court dates. It’s a similar concept to a mortgage or car loan. The differences between these two concepts can confuse people unfamiliar with how they work.

What Are the Fees for Bail Bonds?

Bail bonds allow individuals to stay out of jail until their hearing, giving them time with family and friends. But bail amounts can be astronomical, and most defendants cannot fully pay their bail amount.

A judge may release a person from jail on personal recognizance, cash bail, or a surety bond. In the case of a surety bond, the defendant hires a bail bondsman to post bail on their behalf in exchange for a fee. The law in New York limits the fees a bail bondsman can charge for this service.

A surety bond is an agreement between the bond company and the court that the bondsman guarantees the defendant will appear for all their scheduled court dates. The court will return the bail amount to the defendant once the trial ends. This can save a lot of money for the defendant and their loved ones, who can keep more of their hard-earned income and avoid losing property like a car or house.