A bail bond is what you pay to get out of bail, and a bail agent is someone who can assist you with paying that fee. That is the basics, in a nutshell, of what bail bond and a bail agent is and does. However, the operating truth is more complex.
1. Bail Bonds Are Set by the Courts
First, one's bail amount is set by the courts. It may be set by a schedule that assigns set amounts to different types of offenses and charges. However, the judge may also change the amount based on your personal circumstances and criminal history. The judge may also release you without charging a bail amount.
2. Bail Bond Provides an Incentive to Attend Court
Second, the bail bond is designed to provide an incentive for the defendant to appear in court. The amount is usually intended to be large enough that the defendant will not want to lose out on that amount of cash. Additionally, getting bail revoked usually means you will have to go to jail, providing another layer of incentive.
3. Bail Bond Agents Are Licensed Individuals
In most states, bail bond agents are licensed individuals. They had to go through extensive exams and an application process to earn a license to be a bail bond agent.
4. Bail Bond Agents Have Multiple Responsibilities
Fourth, with their licenses, bail bond agents have multiple responsibilities. They can provide financial resources to defendants in jail who are awaiting trial. They can also purse and arrest defendants if they don't appear for trial. They can then return the defendant to law enforcement.
5. Bail Bonds Allow You to Secure Bail for a Fee
Fifth, not everyone can pay their full bail amount. If you can't pay your full bail amount, you can secure a bail bond from a bail bond agent. With a bail bond, the agent will agree to pay your full bail amount. In return, you pay the bail agent a set fee, which is usually dictated by state rules. That fee is non-refundable.
6. Bail Bonds Require Collateral
A bail bond is a form of loan, which means you will have to come up with collateral for the money you are being loaned in addition to the fee. You only have to surrender the collateral if you don't honor the terms of your bail.
7. You Must Honor Your Bail
Once you are released, you have to honor the terms of your bail. The biggest one is showing up in court for all the dates assigned to your case. However, in many cases, the judge may put additional conditions on your bail. Also, the bail agent or the co-signer on your bail can put stipulations on the bail bond loan that you are required to follow as well. You have to honor all the terms of your bail to ensure you stay out of jail as you go through the trial process.
A bail bond is a way to get someone out of jail while awaiting trial. A bail bond agent is someone who can pay that bond for you in exchange for a small fee and an agreement that you will honor the bail terms. Honoring the bail terms means you stay free while your case goes through the legal system, and it means that you will only have to pay the fee and not pay collateral for the bail loan.