Bail And Surety Bonds: What To Know

Posted on: 15 May 2019


For those sitting behind bars, few things are more important than getting out of jail. To do so, the judge must offer you bail. Bail is often too expensive to pay, which is where bail bonding agencies come into play. They form an agreement with the court system that allows defendants to be free from jail pending a court appearance. Read on to find out more about how this process works.

How Do Bail Bonds Work?

Bail bonding agencies can get you or a loved one out of jail for a fraction of the full bail amount. It works like this:

1. The accused finds out the amount of the full bail required to be released from jail.

2. A friend or loved one contacts a bail bonding agency to discuss bail arrangements.

3. The bail bonding agency agrees to arrange for the release and a premium or fee is paid.

4. The bail bonding company gets your friend or loved one free from jail.

That is a highly simplified version but does provide a basic overview of events.

How Much Are Bail Bonds?

The fee or premium paid to the bonding agency is non-refundable and is based on a percentage of the full bail. For instance, if the full bail is $3,000 and the bail bonding agency charges a 10% fee, the amount paid is only $300 and not $3,000. Fees can vary, so check with a local bonding agency for more detailed information. Whoever signs the bail agreement is actually now responsible for paying the full cost of the bail if the accused fails to abide by the conditions of the bail – namely to show up for court dates and to stay out of further trouble.

What Is a Surety Bond?

Most bail bonding agencies are near jails, and you should work only with an agency near where the accused is being held. These agencies usually have a relationship with the local courts and are able to form an agreement using what is known as a surety bond. This bond is a promise that the defendant will obey bail conditions or the bonding agency will have to pay the bail. The bonding agent is acting on your behalf by assuring the courts of your compliance.

What Happens If There Is Non-Compliance with the Bail Agreement?

When the accused fails to live up the bail agreement, both the bonding agency and the courts can take action. A warrant may be issued for an arrest, and the bonding company does their utmost to locate the defendant and return them to jail. Failure to appear is yet another charge added on to the defendant's charges.

Speak with a bail bonds agency in the appropriate location to find out more about the requirements for bonds, the fees, and more.