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The Basics of Bail Bonds

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Every state has a bail bond system in place, which provides anyone charged with a crime the chance to remain free of a jail cell until they head to trial. In different states, there are different types of bail. The principle behind the system remains the same, though. If you are charged with a crime of any kind or are considering posting bail for a loved one, it’s crucial to learn exactly how the bail system works.

Basic Bail Bond Terms

First, let us begin with the absolute basics – the most commonly used terms in the industry.

  • Bail – the money or property used as a promise to the court to release the defendant from jail. When paying bail, the defendant must return to court for all scheduled trial dates or forfeit their bail money.
  • Bail Bond – The promise made by the defendant.
  • Surety – An individual who vows to pay on behalf of the defendant.

What is a Bondsman?

Currently, there are over 15,000 bail bondsmen working in the country. On average, there is around $14 billion in bond turnover per year. As such, there is plenty of room for new bail bondsmen to enter the industry and build a viable career.

The most common type of bail bondsman is the surety bail bondsman. This type is licensed by the state government to provide bail bond services to a defendant accused of a broad variety of crimes, from DUI to aggravated assault and beyond. In return for a guarantee, the surety bail bondsman puts up the entire bail amount to the court. They then take a percentage of the money as their fee or charge the client directly for their services. This percentage often ranges from 10 to 20 percent, depending on local and state laws.

Types of Bonds

  • There are multiple types of bail bonds – each on varying in severity – for a variety of charges. Most commonly, defendants deal with local or state bail bonds, known as surety bonds, which are handled in their local court. However, some cases may bring about federal or immigration bonds, both of which are handled by federal agencies and courts.
  • Federal Bonds – A federal bond is issued when a defendant is charged with a federal crime, such as mail fraud, bank robbery, kidnapping, identity theft, or computer crimes. Unlike a surety bond, a federal bail bond guarantees the defendant appears for their court date but also complies with all pre-trial conditions. These conditions usually include drug testing and restricted travel.
  • Immigration Bonds – An immigration bond is a type of federal bond. It is used to secure release from an immigration detention facility. The bond recipient is usually in the custody of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), a federal agency, and is held in local or county jails for the time being. Typically, immigration bonds are considered higher risk due to immigrants having fewer ties to the community.

For more information on bail bond services near you, consider finding a local bail bond agency offering 24-hour services. You can speak with a licensed, experienced bail bondsman with a single phone call!