Maybe you were at the wrong place at the wrong time and now you face spending the night in the county jail. Understanding the bail bond process may let you spend the night in your own bed and not on a battered cot in a jail cell. Here is why the bail process was developed and how it will help you.
The Original Intention for Bail
In the 1700s, as the country was getting organized, jail cells filled up as people waited for their hearings. Posting bail was devised as a way to get people out of jail, on their one recognizance. For people whom a judge deemed as trustworthy to appear at their court date, putting up cash to stay out of jail was a good idea. But as the bail amounts rose, people had trouble coming up with the cash. This gave rise to another industry, the bail bond.
A Guarantor for Your Bail
The bail bond company covers your bail, for a fee, and gives the money to the court. When you show up for your hearing, the court returns the money to the bail bond company. Think of it as a short-term lone. A major difference is that if you "default" on your loan, the consequences can be serious.
How the Process Works
A judge determines if the charge against you is bailable or not. If so, they have guidelines that tell them how much bail they can set. If the judge believes that you'll show up for your hearing and you have no other offenses on record, the bail may be set at the lowest amount. If they think there is a risk that you'll skip the hearing and maybe leave town, they may set the bail quite high. If you have to post a high bail, you're more likely to show up for the hearing to get your money back.
If you have the cash to post bail, then you're out of jail. If not, you'll see a bail bondsman who will decide if they can take the risk that you'll go to your hearing. If they think that you are a good risk, they will post the bail for you and charge you a fee.
When you return for the hearing, the bail bond company gets their money back from the court. If you don't return, called skipping bail, the judge will put a warrant out for your arrest. They may send deputies from the local sheriff's department to find you.
The bail bonds company is also interested in finding you so they get their money back. They have trained security people who will focus on the search. If the sheriff's deputies bring you in before the bail company finds you, the bail bond company loses their money. If they bring you in, they get their money back. This makes the bond company highly motivated to find you should you skip bail.
A Convenience For You
The bail bonds service is a convenient way to stay out of jail if you don't have the cash to post bail. Make sure you understand all of the terms and make it a priority to get to your hearing. Otherwise, you could have a lot of people suddenly interested in finding you and putting you in jail.
Learn more about bail bonds.