How Does A Bail Bonds Agent Work?

Rohan Mathew

Updated on:

Bail refers to the release of an alleged criminal, before the conclusion of the case. In some cases, this release is on the condition of deposit of some form of an asset including a cash amount to the court. The asset deposited to the court acts as an assurance of the accused person’s appearance in court to complete the judicial criminal process. The set bail is refundable once the accused person attends court and sees the case through.

When the court sets a bail amount, the accused person or their family may not readily have the set amount for bail. This is where a bail bond agent comes in and takes a small percentage, usually 10%, and further collateral such as a vehicle or house title in exchange for paying the bail money to the court on behalf of the accused person. Ideally, the accused person attends court as required and the bail money is released back to the bondsman. The bondsman in turn releases the accused person from the collateral or other form of an agreement but keeps the cash deposit as profit for their work.

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Who Can Get Bail?

Any person who has been arrested can get bail but this will depend on the circumstances of the arrest, the alleged crime, and the person’s criminal history. Normally, a person will try to get released as soon as they have been arrested and processed. There are three options for getting bail after arrest. For most small crimes, the police can release the suspect with a notice to appear in court on a specific date for the case hearing. Secondly, the police can require the suspect to pay a bail amount before releasing them. Lastly, the police can hold the suspect in custody pending their appearance in court where the judge will give or deny bail and also set a bail amount. Giving or denying bail is at the discretion of the court as are the amounts. The judge will consider various factors such as the charges, the criminal history, and public safety among others in a bail hearing to determine whether to grant bail.

What Are Bail Schedules?

The amounts payable as bail for each crime are set by state laws. State laws often set specific amounts to be paid as bail for specific crimes such as $1000 to be paid for disorderly conduct. This is known as the bail schedule and it also establishes whether police can release defendants without requiring payment of bail. The bail schedules also state whether suspects can be released after paying bail at the police station or whether they must appear before a judge for a bail hearing. Bail schedules only apply at state-level courts as federal courts leave granting bail and bail amounts at the discretion of the court.

What Are Bail Hearings?

A bail hearing is a court process before the hearing on the charges an accused person is facing. The court considers various factors and makes a determination on whether to grant bail and also sets a bail amount. The court can also set additional terms for the suspect to observe while on bail awaiting trial. It is advisable to get a lawyer’s representation throughout the trial including the bail hearing. The court considers factors such as the defendant being a flight risk, connections to the community, family obligations, criminal history, and the charges against the defendant. The court also considers public safety in cases where the defendant can pose a threat to the public such as people charged with terrorism-related charges.

The court can also set additional bail conditions similar to parole conditions which when violated can result in the accused person being taken back into custody while awaiting trial. These bail conditions largely depend on the nature of the crime and can include regular check-ins, travel restrictions, gun restrictions, and limits on substance use.

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How Do You Get Money Back From The Bail Bond Agent?

A bail bond agent will typically release the accused person from any security or collateral agreement they may have signed after complying with the bond conditions. The bondsman will usually include a fee payment that is a percentage of the bail money.

However, when a defendant violates the bail terms set for their release, they will also violate the security agreement with the bail bond agent. Most states give bondsmen a grace period before revoking the bail terms. During this grace period, the bail bond agent will try to track down the defendant and present them to court. The bail bond agent can recruit the services of a bounty hunter to track down the defendant and present them to court. Both bounty hunters and bail bond agents are regulated by state laws which vary between different states.