4 Things to Know When Dealing with Bail Bonds and Legal Matters

The battle for freedom and a good name cannot be fought and won in the confines of a detention cell, hence the importance of bail. The average person can only afford some requirements to secure bail in cities across the USA. This is where bail bonds or fianza come in.

Bail Bonds? What are They?

A person’s arrest does not always mean they have committed a crime. It only means they have been charged with one. As a friend or a family member of such a person, you have two options: bail them out or leave them be. Sometimes, you may want to bail them out but don’t have the resources to. Bail is, after all, money paid to release someone from jail for a period pending the trial of their charge. 

When a defendant cannot make their bail payment, a bail agent provides this payment on their behalf. The agent provides the court with bail bonds – fianza. This is a legal document that guarantees the court that the defendant will appear for trial as scheduled.

The most important thing, however, is that bail bonds are loans repaid by the defendant’s court appearance.

However, before you take this option, here are four things to know about bail bonds.

Understand How Bail Operates in your State

The Constitution of the United States of America allows bail for most crimes. Those who fall in grey areas (for different reasons) get a bail hearing, and a court sitting to determine if the offense is bailable.

In most states, Florida, for example, defendant bail is structured within a bail schedule. So, if the defendant lives and gets charged within Florida, they refer to the bail schedule to determine the bail amount. Other factors such as age, criminal record, education level, employment status, non-appearance history, income level, and social involvement determine the bail amount.

Also note that the court will charge between 10 and 15 percent for court fees from the bail money, which gets refunded after the hearing. Bail bonds agents or bondsmen charge around the same fees for their services, which is why many people began seeking bail bonds.

Understand the Types of Bail Bonds Available

There are several bail bond options available to defendants. Understand them and work with the ones that best serve your purpose. Some are:

Cash Bond: Bonds are paid in credit/debit card, cash, or cheque to the bail bondsman or the court. Where a bondsman is employed, he pays the bail on behalf of the defendant to the court.

Surety Bond: A surety bond directly describes what a bondsman does. Family and friends with means can stand as sureties. Even the defendant can provide the bail and the collateral required for their temporary freedom. Bondsmen are in demand simply because the larger population cannot handle the financial responsibilities of bail.

Property Bond: This means giving up property in place of cash to the bondsman or the court. Failure to appear in court means forfeiture of said property. Only appearance can lead to the release of said property.

Understand the Role of a Bail Bondsman

Bail bondsmen are not lawyers. They are agents that provide bail bonds for people charged with crimes and do not have enough money to post bail. They pay the bail amount and provide the court with co-signed documents with the defendant, guaranteeing the defendant’s appearance for trial. They are usually paid a percentage of the bail fee for their services. If the defendant appears for their trial, these agents get a full refund of their bail fee, plus their service charge. If the defendant fails to appear in court, they only get their service charge, but they lose the bail amount.

Some people believe that having a bond agent stand in at their bail negotiations means they don’t have to go to court. Bail bondsmen only exist to help people without means get out of jail and focus on their fight for justice. After securing a bail bond through an agent, defendants will need a lawyer or some form of legal representation to prepare for litigation, arbitration, or whatever legal means to acquit themselves.

Do Due Diligence Before Hiring a Bail Bondsman

If you have resorted to hiring a bail bonds agency to help your family or friend out of jail, ensure you carry out some necessary checks.

Get Multiple Quotes. Always compare rates. Check their License. Is your chosen bondsman licensed to practice in your state? Does your state even recognize bail bondsmen? Find out before you make any commitments. Search online for reviews about your chosen bondsman. Most of the time, the internet reviewers are right.

Finally, ask questions. If you have any concerns, do not hesitate to ask for clarity.

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