How do bail bonds work?

Bail bonds are used to help people get out of jail while they are waiting for their court date. What generally happens is that you are arrested and must appear before the court at a preliminary hearing. At this hearing you will have to enter a plea – either guilty or not guilty, and the judge will then either say that you are free to go on your own recognizance until your court date or that you must post bail. Depending on the amount of the bail, you may or may not have the funds necessary to post the bond.

If you are short on cash, then in some states you will be able to call upon a bail bondsman to post bail on your behalf. For a 10% fee of the bond, the bond agent will post the bail on your behalf. However, if you fail to appear at your court date, then you will forfeit your right to bail and the court can then immediately issue a warrant for your arrest. You can then request that your bond be reinstated at your next court date, but all of these procedures require funds that the bail bond agent will post on your behalf, but for which you will have to pay in the long run.

If you have the money to post your own bond, then it is clearly the best option available since you will get all of the money back the day of your court date and you will save the 10% fee you would otherwise owe to the bond agent. However, if you do not have access to the money required to post your bond, then you will have no choice but to avail yourself of the services offered by a bail bondsman. Despite their reputations, they provide a very valuable service.

Bail Bonds   |  March 16th, 2011    | 

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