Most Common Questions about Bail Bonds
This FAQ page can help answer the most common questions that our customers have about bail bonds. If you need more help or cannot find the answer that you are looking for, then please do not hesitate to contact us at any of our locations.
Bail is a procedure that is applied in the legal system in which a person who has been incarcerated to be released from custody until their court date arrives. This permits the accused to continue with their everyday lives as well as prepare for their day in court. In order to procure bail, a determined amount of money or property must be forfeited in order to obtain a release from jail. Any monies or property must be posted by either the accused or someone that knows them, on their behalf, in order to guarantee that they will show up in court for an appearance. It is important to note that bail does not mean that the accused only appears in court for the initial appearance. He or she must uphold all court appearances as set forth by the court. The Eighth Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America guarantees all of those incarcerated in the USA, the right to reasonable bail.
A bail bond is used to guarantee an appearance in court throughout their trial. It is a financial guarantee made by or on behalf of a criminal defendant. If the accused fails to appear in court for all court dates, a bond forfeiture, as well as a warrant for the arrest of the accused, is issued.
Once a person has been incarcerated, the court system will decide upon the amount of bail. The amount of bail required is dependent on the severity of the crime. This means, in the case of minor crimes, the bail amount is set at a lower amount than those that are more severe in nature. State law ensures that bail is an option for most people who have been incarcerated. The full bail amount can be paid to the courts from a surety company if the defendant does not stand up to their agreement of making all scheduled court appearances. Licensed bail bond agencies offer these bonds to those who have been incarcerated. Bail bond agencies charge a percentage of the bail amount as their service charge. An example would be if bail were set at $100,000, the service charge from the bail bond agency would be $10,000 plus the cost of court, and other additional charges that are required by the state. The premium rate must be filed with the Department of Insurance, and the bail agency receives the percentage or premium rate it has disclosed to the Department of Insurance. Once the defendant is released from jail, the premium is not refundable.
The judge or magistrate will determine the amount of bail money that has to be posted in order to secure a release from jail. There are only two factors that have been set forth by the laws of the Constitution that the judge or magistrate must adhere to. These two factors play a role in determining the amount of money that needs to be forfeited. Bail is set to guarantee the appearance in court of the accused, and should not be set in an amount that is too high in order to punish the defendant. Circumstances, as well as evidence at hand, helps in factoring the bail amount. Setting the bail amount too high is wrong and a violation of the person’s constitutional rights. The judge or magistrate looks at the criminal record of the defendant as well as the seriousness of the crime. They also weigh in the factor of whether or not the defendant will appear in court for the hearing.
If you have posted the full amount of the bail to the court, it will be returned to you if certain conditions have been met. These conditions are that you have made it to all your court appearances and your trial has been completed. If you employed the services of a bond agency to post your bond, the money required by the courts is paid by the bond agency. For that service, the bond agency will require a percentage fee of the bond amount. Once the defendant has been released from custody, these monies are earned and therefore, non-refundable. These charges are valid and non-refundable even if the defendant is innocent of the crime.
Once payment has been received by our bonding company, the paperwork is processed and the bond is posted within 15-20 minutes. After we have completed the process, it depends on how busy it is at the jail where the person is incarcerated. In the case of Denton County Jail, the time it takes for a person to be released from custody averages between 1-2 hours. Inmates are usually released quicker at the municipal jails because they are much smaller and have a smaller amount of people incarcerated.
A person who is willing to be responsible for the defendant while they are out on bail is called the guarantor or indemnitor. They co-assume the financial liability of the bond amount in full. Smaller bonds often do not need an indemnitor. However, higher risk bonds often include an indemnitor for additional assurance that the bail bond will be met.
A forfeiture of the bail bond occurs when a defendant misses a court date. When this occurs, the amount of money that was posted as bail is turned over to the court. After this takes place, a capiases warrant or bench warrant as it is also known as is issued for their arrest. When this happens, the court sets a period in which the defendant must be returned to custody. There is also a possibility of the bail bond being reinstated.
A defendant who has missed a court date has been issued a bench warrant. This is because they did not appear to approach the bench or present themselves to the judge. When this occurs the bail bond has been forfeited and if this should occur, a defendant can hire the services of an attorney. The attorney will use legal means to have the bench warrant removed and, quite possibly, the bail bond reactivated with the court. This action can also warrant additional charges or fees to be paid by the defendant or Indemnitor(s) to the attorney for representing the defendant in court.
Some people might be unsure of just how the legal system works in regards to criminal proceedings. It may seem confusing and complicated to a person charged with a crime, especially if it was the first instance of a charge. There are some excellent resources in which a person can learn the procedures used in cases where you are the defendant.
You can view an in-depth examination of the processes that are involved written by the State Bar of Texas (PDF) by clicking here
Visit lawyers.com if you wish to read an abbreviated version of the criminal procedures.