When most people call up a bond office to have themselves or a loved one released from jail, the process of obtaining a bail bond is brand new. They may not know how the process works and this can add to what is already a frustrating experience.
It is important to understand the bail bond process and your options before finding yourself confused if you are ever confronted with having to bail someone out of a cell.
What is the Bail Bond Process?
Bail is a set amount that one pays in exchange for release from jail. Bail not only gets you out of jail for the moment, but it is also financial leverage for the offending person to appear in court. If the person appears in court as scheduled, the bail amount is returned. However, should they fail to show in court, they are subject to arrest and the bail amount is forfeited.
How is Bail Determined?
When someone is in jail the bond is set by a judge. This is the amount of money that is “bail.” At this point people have three options:
- Stay in jail until a court date is scheduled
- Pay the bond in full
- Hire a bondsman for assistance
What Does a Bondsman Do?
For a fee, which is usually a percentage of the bond, the bondsman will place the full bond amount with the courts, and in return the person incarcerated will be released. The length of time it takes for the person to be released varies based on which jail the person is incarcerated in.
Payment for Your Bail Bond
Once a bond has been posted and the individual has been released from custody they will need to contact our office as soon as possible. The new client will then pick a time from our flexible office hours to come in and fill out paperwork. The paperwork only takes about 10-15 minutes to complete. Once completed, your bondsman explains the rules, regulations, and obligations while on bond with them.
Aside from understanding how much the bond is and paying back, post-release steps include:
- Payment plan guidelines
- Continually updated information on the client
- Weekly phone check-ins
These obligations remain in place until the client has met all court responsibilities and made all payments to the bond company.
Do You Get the Money Back?
One of the most asked questions about bail is whether or not the payor gets their money back. This all depends on how bail is approached with the courts. By paying in full directly to the courts, the chances of being reimbursed for the full bond aside from court fees is high. It all just depends on if the person is responsible enough to appear at their mandated court dates.
When working with a bondsman, there is no refund, but the client is only paying back a percentage of the bond rather than the full amount.
The rules include, but are not limited to, weekly phone check-ins, guidelines for payment plans and the information we need to be continually updated on. These rules will apply until the client has their court responsibilities completely disposed of for all bonds and made all payments.