Whenever anyone is arrested, bail will be set according to the schedule of whatever county you happen to be in. When someone posts that bail—that is, pays the amount in cash—the money is used to serve as a guarantee that the arrested individual will show up for his or her future court dates. Bail bonds are important, yet fairly complex, when it comes to the criminal justice system as a whole.
Due to their more complex nature, many aspects about how they work and how much they cost are often misunderstood. Here are some of the most common misconceptions about bail bonds in Angleton:
1) Bail bond companies can charge interest. This is not true and bondsman are actually prohibited from charging interest. However, they may charge additional fees if you are late in paying back your bond or have complications regarding your case that raise or lower your bonding rate.
2) Bail bond companies can influence or set a bail amount. The amount of bail is set independently by the court judge and is based off various factors, such as the severity of the crime and the criminal history of the offender. Bail bond companies and bail bondsmen cannot influence, negotiate or set these terms. If any company promises you as much, it is best to avoid such a company and report them to the authorities.
3) Once you have paid your money, you can wash your hands of the affair. This is one of the most pervasive misconceptions. Posting bail is often seen and represented as a “get out of jail free” card. It is important to know that this is not the case. Even though the arrestee has been released, they still have been accused of a crime; their case still exists. Likewise, the affair is hardly over for whoever posts the bail amount. As the person posting bail, you are responsible for ensuring that the accused shows up to all future trial dates on time. If the accused individual happens to miss a trial date, the money posted for the bail bond will not be refunded. It is only after the case has been tried and is closed that the process will be truly over for both the accused and the person posting the money for bail.
4) Setting bail for arrested individuals poses a threat to the safety of the general public. This misconception is seen quite often, especially in response to news outlets posting a story that reports an alleged criminal is being released out on bail. Mostly, the stories that raise the most concern occur when the released individual is accused of a particularly heinous or violent crime. Often the public fears that either the crime will be committed again or the individual will jump bail. A bond agent ensures not only that the accused individual attends their court dates, but also is empowered by the law to forcibly bring back any individual who jumps bail. Even though an individual may be released on bail, they will still have to eventually have their day in court, regardless of what the alleged crime may be.
Now that four of the most common misconceptions regarding bail and bail bonds have been dispelled, you should have a little more confidence the next time you or someone you know needs bail posted.