If somebody is arrested and charged with a crime, a judge will determine whether it is bailable and then specify the amount of bail. The exact amount depends on how bad the crime is, the defendant's criminal history, and other factors. Those who are unable to pay the bail that has been set, will have to remain in jail until they are brought in front of the court for their actual trial. This is something that many people who get arrested have to deal with, and this can have far reaching effects. After all, it means that they are no longer able to meet their personal and professional obligations. This is where a bail bond comes in. This now leads to the question on how do bail bonds work.
How Do Bail Bonds Work?
Simply put, a bail bond is a contract between a bail bondsman and the courts. The bond is supposed to ensure that the defendants will come to court when they are scheduled to. If they do not, then the bondsman will pay the bail amount instead. In most cases, some sort of collateral will be required by bail bondsmen in order for them to accept this responsibility. This will serve as a guarantee for them that, if the defendant doesn't come to court, they won't be out of pocket either. If the bail is very low, it is possible for a bail bondsman to not require any collateral.
In almost all cases, a bond agent will charge a 10% fee on the amount of bail, which is how they make their money. However, there is almost always a federal limit on how much they can actually charged. This means that, in some cases, the fee will actually be lower than 10%. This fee is not refundable and is used to pay for the services required to actually secure a bail, and for the company to cover its own overhead costs.
Usually, people who are related to, or friends with, a defendant will contact the bail bondsman. This is why they often ask themselves how do bail bonds work. They, too, are in a stressful situation, because it is quite traumatic to worry about charges being brought against someone you care about. A bail bondsman is usually very experienced in dealing with clients who are highly emotive and stressed, but they will do all they can to make the process as quick and easy as they can. They will need a few key pieces of information, however, including the full details of the defendants, which jail they are in, when they were arrested, what they have been arrested for, and bail amount that has been set. If some of the information cannot be provided, the bail bondsman can find out, but it may slow the process down slightly.
A bail is not set to provide the state with an income. It is also not a way to punish a defendant. Rather, it serves as an incentive for the defendants to come to court when they are due, instead of running from the law. Usually, the bond is set so that it is just high enough for the defendants to actually have that incentive, particularly if they also have to pay the fee for the bondsman.