FAQs About Bail Bonds
Understanding bail bonds can be complicated, and you may need professional help to do so. Read on to find answers to the confusing questions you may have about bail bonds and the legal procedures surrounding them.
1. What Should I Know Before I Contact a Bail Agent?
In order to help you, a bail agent would need some information, such as: where's the person in custody, what's the full name of the defendant, what's the defendant’s charge, and how much is the bail?
Although the bail agent will get it when they contact the jail, if you don't have it, we need to know where the person was arrested and their full name.
Regarding the bail amount, the bail agent can tell you the amount it will cost to post a bond and the requirements to get the person out of Jail.
(Remember, if the jail says your loved one has a $2500 bond, you don't pay the $2500. It's 10% to the bonding company i.e., $250 + $37 = $287; for $500, it's $50 + $37 = $87, etc.)
2. How Do I Get a Bond?
There are mainly 4 ways in which a person may be released from custody. You can use a bondsman, which means that you'll pay the bail fee. Or, you can post cash for the full amount of the bond with the court or jail.
Or, you can use real property (such as a home or a lot) with the court. Or, the judge can decide to let the defendant go on their own recognizance or pretrial release after spending some hours or days in jail.
3. What is Collateral?
Collateral is some property placed within the bail agent's legal control, which may be sold in the event that the defendant doesn't show up for the court proceeding.
The bail agent can then sell the property to cover the amount paid to post the bail. Essentially, collateral is a way of insuring that the defendant will go back to court and complete his or her obligation to the court (this is for a huge amount of bonds).
4. Do I Get My Money Back After the Case Is Over?
There may be a few exceptions (for example, if you had to also put up collateral or pay a full bond premium) to this, but you don't get your premium back that you paid to the bonding company.
This fee is what allowed the defendant to be released from jail and is fully earned once the defendant is out of custody. For example, if the defendant gets rearrested a week later, you get neither a portion nor a refund of any money. Each time a bond is posted, it costs the bonding company to post that bond. We can't undo a bond once it's turned in.
5. What If I Think the Defendant Is Not Going to Show up for Court After I Have Posted the Bond?
There are remedies that can be done here as well. Contact the bonding company as soon as possible so that they can discuss your option in full detail with you! Do remember that the person or persons who came and signed the bond contract are the cosigners on the bond and are liable to the bonding company. If you think or know your “friend” is going to run, call us ASAP.
6. Can the Defendant Leave the State or the Country While on Bond?
Not in a normal scenario. You'll have to get permission from the bonding company before attempting to do so. If the court has given you direct instructions not to leave the state or country, you must then get permission from the bonding company and possibly the court before leaving; otherwise, you are subject to arrest!
7. Can a Bail Agent Discount the Fees on the Premium?
The rate that you pay a bail agent is set by the Department of Insurance and the State. A company that agrees to discount their fee may have their license pulled by the Department of Insurance.
Some companies try and lead you into believing that you'll receive a discount; in the end, they actually charge you the whole amount.
Payments are sometimes an option on a bond and vary on a case-by-case basis and some sort of collateral is required. Every situation is different, but the State regulates the bond fees and 10% is the fee.
8. What Do Bondsmen Accept as Collateral?
Each bonding office will have their own standards but, for the most part, they will take:
- Real estate
- Car titles
- Credit cards
- One or more cosigners with verified employment and more
9. What is the Procedure for Posting Bail?
First, your person must reach the jail and be booked and processed. Usually, this takes hours; yes, hours!
Depending on the time of the day or the day of the week, it varies. Contact your bondsman immediately who will start the process and explain it a little more in detail to you.
Once the person is booked, you have talked to your bondsman probably countless times over the hours you're waiting for the jail to book your person.
You'll meet your bondsman at the jail, the paperwork will be signed and completed, your bond premium will be paid, the paperwork will be turned in at the jail, and your person will be released.
Remember all jails vary a little, but the process is pretty much the same.
The waiting is the hardest part!
Did you know that the State of Tennessee has 300,841 revoked driver's licenses and 405,029 suspended driver's licenses? A majority of the bonds we do are for offenses such as these!