First Time Behind Bars? 7 Common Questions About Bail Bonds
If you’ve been arrested, getting out of jail is usually the first thing on your mind. But, before your release, there are some important things that you should know.
Read on to find out everything you need to know about how a bail bond works!
1. How Much Will it Cost to Bail Out of Jail With a Bondsman?
The amount that you will have to pay varies depending on the nature of your crime and the amount of bail that’s been assigned to you.
In some instances, a bail bondsman may ask that you pay a small service charge, plus any legally mandated charges that are required by law for your release. Other than these nominal charges, which usually amount to less than $100 dollars, you must pay a set percentage of the total amount of bail that’s been assigned to you.
Most bail bondsmen typically require that you pay 10-15% of your total bail amount. So, if your bail has been set at $10,000 dollars, you could potentially pay just $1,000 instead of the full $10K.
2. What Does It Mean to Enter Into a Bail Bond Agreement?
When you enter into a bail bond agreement, you are making a promise that you will adhere to any legal requirements asked of you which pertain to your case. This includes reporting to the appropriate officials, attending the required court dates, paying any fees assigned by the courts, and so on.
In most cases, you are also agreeing that you will follow the law while awaiting a decision in your case and that you will not incur any additional charges prior to the courts reaching a determination in your case.
If you do not follow the agreement completely, the bondsman has the right to collect the remaining bail money that you were not required to pay at the time of your release.
Furthermore, the bondsman may be held liable for the remaining bail amount if you do not do what is legally required of you by the courts.
3. What is Required at the Time of Signing a Bail Bond Agreement?
To bail out of jail with a bondsman, you only need to meet a few simple requirements.
These requirements typically include the following:
- A money order for the amount due by the holding facility (this is generally $50 or less)
- A state-issued or approved form of identification
- 10-15% of the total bail amount assigned to you or a form of collateral equal to the amount required
- Providing key information to the bail bondsman, such as your name, address, phone number and your employer, and possibly providing proof of your employment/income
- Your signature, the signature of any applicable guarantor of funds/terms of release, and possibly the signature of a third-party witness, agreeing to the terms defined in the bail bond agreement
- You might also be required to sign an agreement with the county or state issuing your arrest
Although these can vary somewhat, depending on your state and the bail bond company that you use, they are usually similar across the board.
4. What Are My Responsibilities Once I Am Released?
Once you have been released from jail, you must comply with your agreement or you risk the possibility of rearrest.
Usually, your responsibilities will include the following:
- Appearing, on time, to any court dates that are set in your case
- Reporting to any requested court officials or law enforcement departments as required in your case
- Reporting regularly to the bail bond company while waiting for the court to make a decision in your case (as required)
- Meeting any requirements that are set by the courts/law in your case
- Refraining from breaking the law or any subsequent behavior which results in further legal action against you during the period prior to the court’s decision
- Providing the bail bond company and the courts of any changes in your address, employment, phone number, or your general whereabouts.
- Maintaining the terms of your agreement with the bail bond company
There may be additional responsibilities, depending on your case, that are asked of you. For example, you may not be able to leave the state or contact the defendant in your case, or you may need to adhere to other conditions, such as mandatory drug tests.
5. What Happens if I Miss My Court Date?
If you miss your court date without obtaining permission, then you may be rearrested or have to pay the remaining balance of your bail to the bondsman.
It is essential that you show up to every court date that is assigned to you unless you make prior arrangements to reschedule your case with the courts.
6. How Quickly Can I Bond Out of Jail?
By law, some misdemeanor charges require a mandatory waiting period before the defendant is allowed to bail out of jail. These might include domestic violence charges as well as instances when you are detained under the influence of illegal drugs or alcohol.
In felony cases, and potentially other cases as determined by law, you will have to wait until there is an arraignment, or hearing, and a judge sets the amount of your bail. However, these will usually occur within days of your arrest.
Once bail has been determined and you have undergone any mandatory waiting period, you can usually contact a bail bond company, such as Alamo City Bail Bonds, who will assist you in bonding out of jail. Most of the time, when all other conditions have been met, you can bond out of jail on the day that you contact the bail bond company.
You may need to exercise patience, however. Many times, it can take several hours for the bondsman to arrive, and for them to call you for release. You may also need to take time signing documentation and making financial arrangements.
7. Will I Owe Additional Payments to the Bondsman After I am Released?
In most cases, the answer is no. However, if you do not comply with the terms of your release, you will potentially have to pay the remaining amount of your bail.
The remaining bail amount might be several thousand dollars. And, in some cases, it might even total several hundreds thousands of dollars. So, you want to be sure that you follow your agreement with both the courts and the bondsman in your case.
Get the Legal Help You Need
After you take care of your bail bond, you will be released, but it doesn’t end there.
If you are facing criminal charges, you will need an attorney to represent you in court. If you can prove indigence, the courts are required to provide you with an attorney. However, the court’s requirements to qualify as indigent usually only pertain to a small population of offenders.
A lawyer can help you navigate the court system and will try to make sure that you receive the best possible outcome in your case.
Do you need legal help?
Check out our site to find an experienced criminal defender who will fight for you!