Law Blog


How Do Bail Bonds Work?

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If you or a loved one is in the situation where you require a bail bonds in Los Angeles, it can be a very confusing and difficult time. The bail bond system is notoriously convoluted and difficult to understand. Every state has its own bail bond system. The bail bond system simply allows someone who is being tried for a crime to remain free for the length of the trial by paying an amount of money. If a bail is not paid, then the defendant will typically have to spend the duration of the trial behind bars.

To begin learning about how bail bonds actually work, it is important to really understand some key terminology and the role they play in the whole process. Bail is money that the defendant gives to the court so that the judge will release the defendant while the trial is ongoing. Obviously, you or a loved one would much rather spend the duration of your trial at home than in a cell. A bail bond simply means that if a defendant violates the terms of release from jail, typically meaning if the defendant fails to show up for court, the bail bond is the promise that the money paid will be forfeited to the court. States and counties usually have a list of how much they recommend a judge ask for in bail for a particular crime. In Los Angeles County, bail for a kidnapping charge is recommended at one hundred thousand dollars, not that the judge necessarily has to abide by that.

Oftentimes, a bail bond will be cosigned by a bail bond agent. This is usually a necessity because bail is often set in the amount of thousands and thousands of dollars. Through the use of a bail bond agent, the defendant is typically allowed to pay just ten percent of the total bail amount to the bail bond agent, who in turn pays the rest of the bail to the court. After the trial is over and the bail is given back to the defendant, the bail bond agent takes back the ninety percent paid in addition to the ten percent put down by the defendant. It is important to note that cosigning a bail bond can make you liable if the defendant skips bail. If you are defendant who fails to show up to court, a bail bond agent can go after you or recruit a bounty-hunter to on their behalf, though laws governing bounty-hunters vary by state.