There is a reason that nobody wants to go to jail. It is a sad and terrible place. Fortunately bail bonds are available to get someone out of jail after they’ve been arrested and professional bail bondsmen are there to help defendants get access to bail bonds.
Essentially bail bonds enable someone to get out of jail to prepare for their criminal defense and resume their lives while the court process plays out. Bail is not an indication of someone’s innocence or guilt. Bail is just the money paid to a court so they have some confidence a defendant will return for their trial rather than fleeing once free. If the defendant does run, the court will keep the money that has been paid as bail and an arrest warrant will be issued. When a defendant or their friend or family pay the bail directly to the court, it is called a cash bail.
In some cases, friends or family members will not be able to pay a cash bail amount. Bail bonds agents are available to help in these situations. A bail bondsman can essentially loan money for bail, but the defendant never actually receives any proceeds. Instead the bail bondsman promises the court that they will be responsible for the defendant appearing at trial as ordered. That promise comes in the form of a surety bond to the court. It is for that reason that when someone has secured released via a bail bondsman they are said to have been “bonded out”.
Unfortunately, some defendants make the decision to not appear in court and flee from prosecution. When this happens, the bail bondsman has a mere six months to find and return the defendant to the jail. If for some reason the bondsman is unable to locate or return the defendant than they must pay the court the entire bail amount. Bail bonds are unique in that customers pose a financial risk to the professional that services them.
Bail bondsmen collect a fee from the defendant or their cosigners for the service of posting a bond. This fee can’t be negotiated or changed as it is set by each state. The fee is also not refundable and considered fully earned when a defendant is released.