What Is a Bail Bond, and How Does It Work?

When someone has been arrested, they may not need to await trial in jail. If they’re allowed to be released on bail, they can stay home (adhering to certain terms and conditions) until their trial has concluded. Bail bonds are a way to post collateral to the court, basically guaranteeing that the defendant won’t run off to escape trial.

In the United States, bail bonds are typically available for non-capital crimes—that is, crimes which are not eligible for the death penalty. If the court determines that a defendant is a “good risk,” they’ll be allowed bail based on their own word (recognizance) or collateral.

However, most people don’t have tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars sitting around to post for bail. This is where bail bonds come in. Here’s how to use bail bonds.

What are bail bonds?

If a judge sets your bail at $100,000, there’s a good chance you won’t be able to pay it in cash. A bail bonds agent will post that money for you, in exchange for a fee (usually 10 percent). You pay the bail bonds agent that fee, and they’ll give the money to the court for your pre-trial release.

What happens if you get sent back to jail?

As long as you show up to all of your court dates and the trial, your bail bonds agent will get their full amount back. You’ll only pay their fee. If, however, you’re sent back to jail for violating the terms of your bail, you’ll be on the hook for the full bail amount. That’s financially devastating for most people, especially on top of other legal and court fees. It behooves defendants to meet all of their court obligations for that reason alone.

When you originally post bail, your bail bonds agent will ask for collateral for the full amount of bail. This might be anything from a vehicle to a house. If you can’t provide enough collateral, you may need to ask a friend or relative for assistance.

Whether you’re the defendant or someone is asking you to post bail for them, remember that showing up to all court dates is crucial. You don’t want to lose your house or other assets because you or someone else couldn’t meet their legal obligations. It’s wise to only post bail for someone you really trust, or someone who is under your care.

Are there other options?

Sometimes a judge will allow a defendant to be free on bail simply in exchange for a promise to appear. This is called “own recognizance” or “personal recognizance.” Not every county will offer this, nor is it applicable to all crimes. You should ask your attorney whether you have any additional options or if a bail amount can be appealed.

If you’ve been arrested and are in need of a bail bond service, get in touch with the team at Brazoria County Bail Bonds today. We can help you get out so you can await trial in comfort

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