Bail Bonds and the Work of a Bail Bondsman

What is a Bail Bond?

Before you can understand the bail bond process, it is important to learn the definition of a "bail bond." In relation to criminal law, a bail bond is the money that a bail bondsman agrees to pay to the state's court if the accused person that he/she represents does not appear in court on the date provided by the judge during the arraignment. Thus, the bail bond is similar to the concept of insurance in that the set amount is paid to the court as compensation for an accused person who has chosen to miss his/her assigned court date. For instance, a judge can set bail at $5,000, and bail bond of $5,000 will be paid by a bondsman in the case that his/her client does not appear in court on the assigned date.

What is a Bail Bondsman?

By using the definition of a "bail bond," it can be seen that a bail bondsman is responsible for acting as the guarantee that his/her client who has been accused of a crime will appear in court on the date specified by a judge. Typically, the bail bondsman will be contacted before the initial bail hearing and appear in court with the individual who has been accused of a crime. In specific, the bail bondsman will provide a written promise to the court that the accused will appear in court, and this document must be signed by both the bondsman and his/her client before it can be submitted to the judge and court. According to legal terms, the bail bondsman will act as the "surety" and agree to pay a fixed amount to the court if his/her client does not appear in court on the date specified in the initial bail hearing.

What Does a Bail Bondsman Do?

Alongside serving as a surety for a client who has been accused, a bail bondsman will be responsible for establishing a relationship with the individual who will be posting bail for his/her client. In general, the amount of a bail bond will be $100,000; however, the amount can be significantly smaller depending on the charge and crime in question. For smaller offenses, the bail bond can be as low as $10,000. Thus, the bail bondsman will attempt to interview the individual who will post bail for his/her client. In most cases, it will be a family member or close friend that will be able to post the bail for the person who has been accused, and this individual becomes known as the "co-signer." With the assistance of the co-signer, the bail bondsman will also need to determine and assess the flight risk of the individual who has been accused. Although most individuals will spend no more than 48 hours in jail, this length of time can be enough for the client of a bail bondsman to disappear before the assigned court date. Therefore, the bail bondsman will work with the friends and relatives of his/her client to ensure that the accused will appear in court as promised.
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