You may be curious to know how posting bail works. You’ve probably seen plenty of movies and television programs where the judge announces “Bail to be set at $50,000”. The defendant appears to not really be sure of what is going on, and then looks at his attorney for some sort of explanation or advice. Then in the next scene you see the defendant walking free, awaiting his trial, and perhaps you’re thinking “where do people come up with that much money?” After all, how many people have $50,000 sitting in their bank account, how was he/she able to afford that?
How Bail Works
With this being said we can now take a closer look at how posting bail works and how people are able to come up with these large sums of money, so they can enjoy their freedom up until their scheduled trial date. Bail works in that the court holds the sum of money in question until the defendant shows up for his trial date and through the duration of the proceedings. The goal is to set the bail amount at a level which is high enough that the defendant will not leave the country, hide out, or not show up for court; or else forfeit this sum of money. Once the proceedings have been completed, the defendant is either found innocent, and let free, or found guilty and put in jail; at this point the defendant is no longer a “flight risk”, and therefore the bail money can be returned. “Flight risk” meaning the defendant may try to leave the country, or hide out in order to avoid showing up to court to be possibly found guilt and placed in jail.
Why Get Bailed Out?
In many instances, trials may not commence for weeks or even months after the initial arrest of an offender. If there was no such thing as bail, or bail is not set, then these offenders who may be innocent have to await their court dates behind bars. Allowing somebody to post bail, lets them to spend their time outside of jail while they await their trial date. For those who may eventually be found innocent, having to stay in jail for possibly weeks or months would be unfair and could also create hardship at home. While a person is in jail they are not able to work, and they may also be missing important birthdays and holidays they would normally be spending with family. Bail provides a person with the opportunity to live their days free until it is proven that they are guilty or not guilty of the crime/s they are being accused of having committed.
What Is A Bail Bondsman?
A bail bondsman, or a bail bond agent is a person, business or corporation that will pledge a sum of money or property as a form of bail for the appearance of the accused in court. There are many surety companies who supply surety bonds for all types of businesses, however they usually do not specialize in bail bonds like a bail bondsman or bail bond agent does. Bail bondsman on the other hand specialize in this type of business and are usually able to provide bail quickly and get their clients back home within a few hours of bail being set. Bail bondsman are primarily found in the United States, and in the Philippines; in most countries around the world bail is usually set at a much lower amount eliminating the need for a bail bond agents. In most other countries the activity of bounty hunting is also illegal.
Typically bond agents have special security agreements with the local courts, where they agree to post a “blanket” bond. If any defendant for whom the bail bondsman is responsible for does not show up for court this blanket bond will cover the bail amount. Bond agents typically have special arrangements with banks, insurance companies and other credit providers so that they can draw against their credit lines in order to post bail even at times when these businesses would normally be closed; for example nights, weekends and holidays.
How Bail Bondsman Make Money
Typically bail bondsman collect a 10 to 15% fee of the total amount of bail they put up for a defendant. For example if you needed a $100,000 bond, you would pay a bail agent $10-15k to put up the full amount for you, and he/she would keep this amount which you’ve given them.
We hope this article has given you a better idea of how posting bail works and has also answered the question “what is a bail bondsman?” For more information about probation, parole, or criminal justice careers please visit some of our other web pages.