Bail law isn’t the most interesting reading material but that’s why we’re here. To help you understand the law and get your loved ones free as easily as possible. The chapter of Georgia law devoted to bail is pretty dense. Let’s see if we can offer you a comprehensive summary of it in less than 500 words.
To begin, the law defines a “professional bondsmen” and gives requirements for such. We assure you that all of our bondsmen meet 100% of these criteria.
Persons who hold themselves out as signers or sureties of bonds for compensation are declared to be professional bondsmen. One who holds himself or herself out as a signer or surety of bonds for compensation must meet the following qualifications:
(1) Is 18 years of age or over
(2) Is a resident of the State of Georgia for at least one year before making application to write bonds
(3) Is a person of good moral character and has not been convicted of a felony or any crime involving moral turpitude
(4) Is approved by the sheriff and remains in good standing with respect to all applicable federal, state, and local laws and all rules and regulations established by the sheriff in the county where the bonding business is conducted.
The law also gives provisions for when bond forfeiture occurs. It says a forfeiture occurs at the end of the court day, upon the failure of a principal to appear, of any bond given for the appearance of that person. An appearance bond shall not be forfeited unless the clerk of the court gave the surety at least 72 hours’ written notice before the time of the required appearance of the principal. Notice shall not be necessary if the time for appearance is within 72 hours from the time of arrest, provided the time for appearance is stated on the bond or where the principal is given actual notice in open court.
Special conditions warrant forfeiture defenses. If it is shown by the written statement of a licensed physician that the principal on the bond was prevented from attending by some mental or physical disability, for example, forfeiture will not occur. Another defense may occur if it is shown that the principal on the bond was prevented from attending because he or she was detained by reason of arrest, sentence, or confinement in a penal institution or jail in the State of Georgia, or so detained in another jurisdiction. An official written notice of the holding institution in which the principal is being detained or confined shall be considered proof of the principal’s detention or confinement and such notice may be sent from the holding institution by mail or delivered by hand or fax.
In short, it’s best for you and your bondsman that you show up to your court date, except for in very particular situations. The laws go on to explain even more extenuating circumstances but we’re happy to do all bail-related legal hoop-jumping for you. Just fill out your applications and leave the rest to us!