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Information on Bail Bonds

1. What are bail bonds?

Bail bonds are a type of surety bond that is a guarantee of the entire bail amount for an accused person. This is to ensure that they are meeting the terms of their release from jail. For example they have to show up in court. If family and friends of the accused or the accused themselves cannot come up with the full bail amount, they can obtain a bail bond through a bail bondsman. The bail bondsman pays courts a ďblanket bondĒ which covers multiple people. Then they charge people paying for the bond a percentage, usually about 10% as a cash guarantee.

2. What type of bail bonds are there?

3. How does one go about obtaining a bail bond?

Family or friends will have to go to a licensed bail bondsman in order to obtain a bail bond. If the accused person is paying it themselves, some bondsmen are willing go with them. During initial consultation, bondsmen will collect basic information about the accused personís situation. This is to assess the risk to them involved with taking on the prospective bond. If the bail bond is purchased, paperwork has to be filled out. In most places bail bonds can be obtained 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Many Bondsmen are available on a ďon callĒ basis if they are away from the office.

4. What happens if I leave town or donít show up to court after posting a bail bond?

If an accused person leaves town or fails to make their court date after getting out they are in violation of the term of their release. A number of different things can happen. A bounty hunter might be called. They are hired by bail bondsmen to find and bring back people who fail to appear in court. Mainly the person who is paying for the bail bond will responsible for the entire amount of the bond. Also the premium and any collateral will be seized by the bond agency.

5. How much do bail bonds usually cost?

The cost is 10% of the bail amount. This is pretty standard from state to state. The bail amount can vary depending on what type of crime or crimes were committed. This fee is called the premium. In some cases the bail bondsman may also ask for collateral along with the premium. The premium payments are usually non-refundable. The collateral will be given back after the case is closed. There are bondsmen who have a variety of payment options set up so that accused individuals, families, or friends paying the bond will be able to pay the premium.

6. Are bail bonds available in all states?

No, several states have banned bail bonds. These states are Oregon, Nebraska, Wisconsin, Illinois, Kentucky and Maine. A few of the states have a bond alternative set in place. In some places courts will directly accept a 10% cash bond. However a clerk in the court where the accused is being held should be contacted for more information about posting bail.