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What is a Bail Bond Agency?

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  • Written By: Alexis W.
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Images By: Junial Enterprises, Daniel Oines
  • Last Modified Date: 15 June 2019
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A bail bond agency is a company that posts bail for an accused criminal defendant who is unable to post that bail himself. The bail bond agency then enforces the bond, ensuring the individual appears in court. If the individual does not appear in court, the bail bondsman will attempt to find him and bring him to court in order to collect the bail bounty, or the monetary reward for bringing him back to court.

When a person is accused of a crime, there is a period of time after his arrest but before his trial in which each attorney prepares its case for the judge. During that period of time, the accused criminal may not wish to remain in jail pending the outcome of his trial. Since he is innocent until proven guilty within the United State's court system, the judge will sometimes let him out on bail. This means he is permitted to leave, but only if he posts some type of collateral — in the form of cash or assets — that help to assure the court he will return.

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The amount of bail is set at the initial arraignment in which the charges against the defendant are read and in which the defendant tells the court whether he plans to plead guilty or not guilty. There are a number of factors considered when determining the appropriate amount of bail a person must pay to be released pending trial. The court will look at the seriousness of the crime and how much potential jail time the accused is facing. It will also consider how much money or assets the accused has, whether he has ties to the community, and whether he is considered a flight risk.

Bail can often be set at a high level. As such, many individuals cannot afford to post that bail themselves and they turn to a bail bond agency. The bail bond agency will charge a fee to secure bail for the individual. The bail bond agency will then make arrangements with the court for the accused defendant to be released.

If the defendant appears in court, then the bond is ended when the trial occurs. If the defendant does not appear, the bail bondsmen will track down the individual, who is referred to as a bail jumper. They will then bring him back to the state in which he is to stand trial.

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Discuss this Article

NathanG
Post 4

@SkyWhisperer - You are correct in your description of the bail bonds process. One thing I should point out is that, in addition to the collateral, a bail bonds agency will sometimes ask for a deposit that represents a percentage of the money being put up. This can be anywhere from 10% - 15%, and this money is not refundable.

I think this helps a little bit, because the suspect is putting up at least some of his own money. Of course, depending on the nature of the charge, he may be willing to lose that amount rather than go to jail.

allenJo
Post 3

@SkyWhisperer - What I find intriguing is the super high bail amounts being set when someone famous or someone with a strong criminal record gets arrested. I mean sometimes you hear figures like $10,000,000 or much more being thrown around in these situations.

I always wonder if the courts really mean it, or if they’re trying to discourage any bail being posted. In my opinion, if you don’t think you can allow bail for a suspect, you should just disallow it rather than set a super high bail amount; but I suppose that may not be an option in most cases.

SkyWhisperer
Post 2

@hamje32 - I agree with your position on face value, but remember that the bail bond agent is no fool. There is usually a lengthy agreement between the bail bond agent and the suspect before the bail bond company puts up money.

This is not an unsecured loan. The suspect must put up some collateral against the money being fronted to the court. If it’s a high bail amount, the bail enforcement agent may even secure the mortgage on the suspect’s house. If he doesn’t show, they sell the house to make sure that they get their money back..

I know a little about this because my brother works in law enforcement, and I had some of the same questions that you have. The process does indeed work - I would say 99% of the time. That’s why the courts continue to allow it.

hamje32
Post 1

I’ve never understood the risky practice of posting bailbonds. It seems that in most cases, a person who is truly guilty would just flee the state or even the country – especially if a bail bond agency put the money up for him.

I suppose the system works in most cases (especially if the accused is innocent) but it always seems to me like it would be a roll of the dice for the court to let anyone go free on bail.

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