What are Bail Bonds?
If you are arrested a court will set the amount of your bail. This is the amount of money it takes for you to get out of jail while awaiting your court date. Depending on the seriousness of the crime you are accused of, the bond can be a high amount or a low amount. The main reason for a bail bond is to ensure that you will be around when the time comes to go to court.
Bail Bond Amounts Differ
The bail amount that is set by the court is sometimes low enough so that you can pay your own bond; however if it is quite high you will need to contact a bail bond company. You can pay them a percentage of the bond and a representative from the bonding company, a bail bondsman as they were typically called, or a bondsperson will post the bond so you can get out of jail.
For instance, if your bond is $50,000, this would be a rather large amount for most people to pay. A bond that is higher is usually reserved for felonies rather than misdemeanors. Most likely you would pay 10% of this amount to the bonding company, which would be $5000 and they would post the $50,000. The $5000 you pay to the bonding company will not be returned to you.
Misdemeanor charges do not usually have high bonds and the bonding companies charge around 20% of the bond for this type of charge. If your bail is set at $1000, you would only have to pay the bonding company $200 rather than the $1000. This is also kept by the bail bond company as a fee for posting your bond.
Do You Need a Bail Bondsman?
Finding a bail bondsman is not difficult. They are listed in the telephone book, online and many law enforcement officers can steer you towards one if you are arrested. Because they are frequently at the jail bonding people out, many law enforcement officers know them personally. There are usually bulletin boards near the telephone with business cards from several and their telephone numbers, which by the way most take calls day or night.
Sometimes, especially in the case of a felony, the bail bond company will require you to have a co-signer who signs that they will give up collateral if you do not show up for court. This could be a home, boat or car that is worth the amount of the bond less the amount you have paid to the bonding company.
A bail bondsman will most likely take a photo of you and write down any pertinent information. This will include where you work, where you live, your car make and model and license number. He will also make note of friends and places you go to hang out. Your co-signer may have their photo taken as well.
A bonding company will want to ensure that they know as much as possible about you and that you are going to make your court appearance. This is especially true if your bond is set at a high amount because they stand to lose a lot of money if you do not show.