If you are arrested and awaiting trial, one of the first things to do is to attempt to get released from jail. If you are lucky enough to be released on your own recognizance (commonly referred to as O.R.), you are not required to post a bond, but you promised to appear for all court hearings and trial.
If the Court finds that you do not qualify for O.R. release, the judge will set bail, which requires the defendant must post the bail to the court in order to be released. Once the posted bail is received, the court will issue an order for the jail to release the defendant. There are three different types of bail. A cash bond is “bail”, where the payment is made directly to the court. The second, but least common, is property bonds, where the title property is given with the understanding if the defendant fails to appear, the property will be forfeited.
The third type of bail is surety bonds, which are referred to as “bond” and is the most common. A bond will be issued when a third party agrees to be responsible for the debt or obligation of the defendant. Defendants will contact a bail bonds company to pay and ensure the bond. A bail bonds company charges a premium, which is a nonrefundable fee. The premium is a percentage of the bail, usually 10 percent and is determined by the state. Some companies will give a discount. For example, it is common for a bail company to reduce the percentage to 8% if the client or a family member hires an attorney, is part of the military, or a member of a credit union. In return, the bail bond agent agrees to pay the remaining amount to the court if the defendant fails to appear in court. If the court sets a high bail, many bonding companies will require bail collateral, which may include real estate, vehicles, stocks and bonds, jewelry, credit cards, or bank accounts.
When a bail bond company posts a bond, the defendant is required to appear in court. If the defendant fails to appear, he becomes a fugitive and the bail bonds company (or insurer) is responsible for the bail owed to the court. The company must locate the fugitive or reimburse the court for the bond amount. Bond agents must carry insurance, but the insurance only pays if the bondsmen cannot cover the bond. If the defendant fails to appear in court, bail bonds companies will employ skip tracers and/or bounty hunters to locate the defendant.
A bail bonds company has a legal right to arrest and re-incarcerate any client if the client breaches the bail contract. Bail bonds companies hire skip tracers and/or bounty hunters to locate and incarcerate the fugitive. Skip tracing is the process of locating a fugitive that cannot be located by usual methods. Skip tracers will assess information on the fugitive to help in the apprehension of the fugitive.
Bounty hunters, or bail enforcement agents, are responsible for locating and arresting the fugitive. Bail enforcement agents are contracted to “investigate, surveil, locate, and arrest a bail fugitive for surrender to the appropriate court, jail, or police department.” They obtain their authority from the bail bonds company to enforce a civil contract. When defendants sign the contract, they agree to waive their constitutional rights and agree that they can be arrested by the bail bond agent. Defendants also waive extradition, thereby a fugitive can be arrested in another state and be transported back to the state where the court is located.
If you or a family member is in custody, you should contact a reputable bail bonds company to see if you can be released on bail. There are many benefits to being on bail, including the fact that judges rarely add additional conditions on your release. Further, bail bonds companies are able to post bonds for defendants that have active warrants. Once the bond is issued, the warrant is recalled and the defendant does not have to worry about being arrested on the charge. Lastly, experienced criminal attorneys and bail bonds companies will work together in order to keep you out of custody. By staying out of jail while waiting trial and having an experienced lawyer in your corner, the chances of you going to custody are reduced.