Bail bonds are easy to get in some states, but not in others. Whether you’re in trouble with the law or you know someone who is, it’s important to understand how bail bonds work. Below are four answers to the most common questions about bail bonds.
1. What Is a Bail Bond?
A bail bond is an agreement that a defendant makes with a bail bondsman to guarantee his or her appearance in court. They’re used as a form of legal protection for those accused of committing crimes and awaiting trial. Typically, you’ll need to put up collateral like your home or car and pay a fee (usually 10% of the total bail amount) to get released from jail before your court date. If you don’t show up, bail bondsmen will make sure to bring you back if necessary.
2. Where Can I Get a Bail Bond?
Once you’ve been arrested, getting out of jail quickly is your priority. You don’t want to spend more time behind bars than you have to, and neither does your family. Some bail bonds companies will accept bail on credit cards over the phone. Other companies require an appearance in person at their office so they can collect information about you and your criminal case before setting up a payment plan. The third option for people with enough cash available is to go directly to a local bail bonds agency with collateral for an immediate release from jail pending trial.
3. Who Issues Bail Bonds?
You can issue a bail bond through a private bail bond agent, a judge, or a district attorney. It’s better to contact a private bail bondsman because he can release you or a loved one immediately and doesn’t have to wait for another court date. If you go to a judge or DA, they may not be available for several days.
4. What Happens If I Miss My Court Date?
When you miss your court date, you’re violating a condition of your bail. When that happens, a judge can revoke your bail and issue a warrant for your arrest. So, make sure to plan when it comes to check-ins with judges or court appearances. You can usually reschedule an appearance up to 24 hours in advance if something comes up, but if not, it’s best to call in advance before showing up late.
Bail bonds are the best way to get out of jail fast, but they can be confusing. Consider these four common questions about bail bonds as you decide what next steps to take.