Bail & Bonds: Frequently Asked Questions

If you or a loved one are in the situation to need a bail bondsman then we know you probably have a lot of questions.  We have compiled a list of questions most people ask and hope the answers are helpful to you in this time. Please call us direct and we would be happy to answer your questions, or use the search feature on this page to find your answers more quickly.

Q: Why do I need a bondsman?

You need a bondsman if the court/judge sets a surety bond. A surety bond is only able to be posted by a bondsman. The use of a bondsman insures the court that someone besides the defendant will be responsible for their appearance in court.

Q: How much does a bond cost?

The fee when posting a bail bond is usually ten percent (10%) of the face value of the bond (Example- The fee for a $10,000 bond would be $1,000). An addition fee may be added for travel or court fees for posting a bond.

Q: What do I need to sign for a bond?

You need to be 18 years of age or older, have a valid picture I.D., have stable employment, and in the case of a larger bond, be a home owner and/or have cash collateral.

Q: What if the criminal charge is dismissed?

If the charges are dropped or dismissed, the bond will be exonerated. Neither the signer nor the bail bond company have a financial responsibility to the court any longer. Even though the charges have been dismissed, the signer still does not receive any of the premium back. In the case of collateral, it will be returned to the signer.

Q: What happens if a bond is posted for the defendant, but they have “holders” in different cities or courts?

The bonding agent has to no way of knowing if the defendant has any “holds” for another court or city. The jail or clerk’s office may mention the fact of holds to the bondsman, but not always. A suggestion would be, if the defendant suspects they have a “hold” anywhere, they need to inform the bondsman, so that they may investigate further. If a bond is posted and it turns out that they do, in fact, have a hold somewhere else, the court that has the hold may already have an additional bond that needs to be posted or a court appearance to do so. In this situation, the defendant will not be released from custody; instead a police officer will come to transport them to the jail in the court jurisdiction where they have their hold. In some instances, the additional bond may be posted in the same court that the first bond was, but not always. Please note, that sometimes the charge for the hold may not be severe enough or the court that has a hold is too far away for justification of transport. (Usually in the case of misdemeanor charges, a bench warrant may be issued. You will be released and you are responsible to delivery yourself to court)

Q: What happens if the person I signed a bond for skips?

The bail bond company will first attempt to contact the defendant via phone and reschedule the court date. If this attempt fails, and there has been no contact with the defendant, the bonding company will obtain a copy of the arrest warrant. Search for the defendant and arrest them. They will then be surrendered to the appropriate court. This ensures that they will attend their future court appearances. Any expenses incurred for the apprehension of the defendant will be billed and collected from the signer of the bond.

Q: Besides the premium, what other costs might I be responsible for?

Please note that all of these fees do not pertain to every case. The majority of these fees are only incurred when a defendant skips or the whole premium is not paid.

You, the signer, will be responsible for any recovery fees, attorney fees (if council is ordered to appear in court on behalf of the surety), charges for motions that had to be filed on behalf of the surety and defendant, extradition fees, financing fees, collection company fees, bond forfeitures, etc. If you are concerned that you may be responsible for any of these fees, please just ask and we will be happy to define them more thoroughly so that you may understand them better.

Q: If the defendant skips and the signer knows where they are, can they turn them in to avoid any additional fees?

Yes, you may inform the bondsman of any pertinent information that would aide them in the apprehension of the defendant. However, you will most likely still be responsible for a small portion for recovery expenses. We still have to pay compensation to the fugitive recovery agents. If you assist in the apprehension of the defendant, the costs that you incur will be greatly reduced.

Q: How does the bail process work?

When posting a bond for yourself or someone you know, you must fill out a contractual agreement (application) between you and the bail bond company. By signing a bond, you and the bail agent guarantee that the defendant will appear in court every time they are ordered to do so.

If the person that is in jail is their own signer, they must either own their own home, which a lien will be placed on or deposit cash collateral with the bail bond company. Once the case is over the cash collateral will be returned or the lien will be released. Note: that there can be more than one signer for a bond

Q: Is the premium I paid refundable?

No, the money that you pay to the bondsman is non-refundable. This money goes to the insurance company that backs the bail bond company and the actual bonding company for the services that they provide.

Q: When do I get my collateral back?

Collateral is returned to its owner immediately following the payment of all premiums and the exoneration of the bond by the court.

Q: What is the duration of a bond?

A bond is in effect until the defendant completes his obligations to the court and the case is exonerated.

Q: What is the difference between a surety bond and 10% bond?

A surety bond has to be posted by a bail bondsman and your money is non-refundable. A 10% bond can be paid by you, directly to the court. After the case is over, you can receive the majority of your money back.

Q: If the defendant fails to appear in court, are they always arrested?

No, actually a lot of courts will allow a representative from the bail bond company to reschedule the court date of the defendant. If the defendant knows they will be unable to make it to their court appearance ahead of time, we encourage them to call us as soon as they can, so that we may make arrangements to reschedule their court date.

Q: Why can bail be increased after the initial bond is posted?

Bail can be increased for a couple of different reasons. The two most common reasons are; new facts or evidence has been introduced to the court that was not readily available at the time of the original bond. Secondly, the bond may increase when there is such an incident as of a failure to appear.

Q: If a defendant fails to appear and the court orders the bond forfeited, can that decision be reversed?

Yes, if the defendant can offer an explanation for their absence, the court can then rescind or vacate the bond forfeiture and reinstate the original bond. An example of an acceptable explanation would be a death, illness (confirmed by a hospital or doctor), active military duty, etc.

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