Jail Bond Types
There are five ways to get out of jail, other than serving time. Two of them, being cited out and being released on recognizance, do not require a jail bond. The defendant is released after he or she is processed or after his arraignment. If the defendant is cited out, the arresting agency gives the defendant a citation – most times the defendant does not see the inside of the jail at this point in the process. If the defendant is released on recognizance, he or she is being trusted to attend all scheduled court hearings. Defendants usually appear in front of a judge to get released on recognizance.
Cash Jail Bond
If the defendant has a cash bond, the entire amount of the bond must be posted with the jail. Some states are now deducting any outstanding court fees from the cash bond, returning the balance of the bail bond to the defendant, if the defendant completes all of his or her required court dates.
Surety Jail Bond
A surety bond involves a bondsman, the defendant, a surety company, and the cosigner. The defendant will generally contact a friend or family member after his or her arrest has been processed. The friend or family member contacts a bondsman. If the bondsman decides to write the bond, the friend or family member signs a contract guaranteeing the appearance of the defendant at all scheduled court dates. The friend or family member also pays the premium on the bond. The premium is a percentage of the bond – usually 10 percent.
Once the paperwork is completed, the bondsman goes to the holding facility and gives the officer on duty the bond paperwork. Once the officer completes the paperwork, he or she takes his or her copy and releases the defendant into the custody of the bondsman.
The premium is non-refundable. Unless the defendant skips, the bond is closed out when the case is finished. If the defendant skips and cannot be found within the state-allotted time, the surety company will pay the amount of the bond to the court. The surety company will then collect the funds paid from the bondsman, who will, in turn, collect the funds from the cosigner (family member or friend of the defendant).
If the defendant is re-apprehended before the state-allotted time, any court costs or other fees are collected from the cosigner. The state-allotted time to apprehend a defendant who skipped bail may be as little as three days or up to a year.
Property Jail Bond
If a defendant has a property bond, property worth at least the same amount of the bond is put up as a guarantee for the defendant to appear in all scheduled court hearings. A lien is placed on the collateral property. If the defendant completes all requirements, the lien is removed. If the defendant skips on the bond and cannot be found, the bondsman will institute foreclosure proceedings on the property to recover any monies owed to the surety company.
What Are the Options for Posting Bail?
If you are arrested for a crime, posting bail to be temporarily released from jail is allowed in all but the most serious criminal situations. After the arrest, you are taken to the jail for processing and can remain in jail throughout the time frame of your initial court appearances and eventual trial. For some, that can be a matter of months or even a year or longer. That’s why posting bail is such an important process. It allows you to remain free and concentrate on your defense.
Five Ways of Posting Bail
In a majority of criminal jurisdictions around the country, there are five options for posting bail. Remember that anyone can post bail for a defendant – a relative or even a total stranger.
Cash bail. This option is not used often, even though it offers some advantages to the person who posts the bail. After a judge looks into the details of the arrest and sets a bail amount, the defendant can pay the entire amount in cash to be released from jail. A defendant who shows up for all court appearances can get the return of the cash bail at the conclusion of the criminal case. In many jurisdictions, that’s only possible if the defendant is found not guilty. There are a number of state laws that give courts the right to retain cash paid for bail if the defendant is found guilty in the case.
Surety bond. If you don’t have the total amount of the bail, and can’t find a friend or relative who can pay the amount, you can approach a bail bond company to help you get out of jail. The bail bond company is in business with an insurance company called a surety company. The company agrees to pay the full amount of any bond if a defendant fails to appear. The surety bond usually involves a non-refundable 10 percent charge. If the defendant doesn’t show up for a court appearance, the bail bond company is on the hook for the total amount of the bond.
Release on citation. This is reserved for less serious offenses, such as traffic violations. The defendant still must show up in court, but instead of going to jail and having bail set by a judge, the police officer issues a ticket that contains a court date. No bail amount is involved. If the defendant doesn’t show up for the court date without first resolving the matter, an arrest warrant will be issued.
Released on recognizance (ROR). Particularly in larger cities where jail overcrowding is a serious issue, a judge can decide that the defendant is likely to show up for trial and let him or her out of jail on basically a promise that he or she will show up for any court dates.
Property bond. This is not seen much, but is most often used in the most serious of arrests when the bail is hundreds of thousands of dollars. Even by utilizing a bail bond company, the 10 percent fee is often beyond what many people can afford. In those cases, defendants or people on their behalf will put up homes as a property bond. The risk here is that, if the defendant doesn’t show up for a scheduled appearance, the court can seize the property and sell it to pay the bail amount.