n the majority of criminal cases, defendants have the ability to pay bail. The court will decide on an amount of money that the defendant can pay to remain out of jail until the court date arrives. When the defendant appears in court, the money is returned. The court uses the bail as insurance that the defendant will appear in court. In some cases the court will set the bail higher than what the defendant can afford to pay. When the bail amount is too much for the defendant to pay, the defendant can turn to a bail bond company. A bail bondsman will carry the burden of the bail in exchange for surety bonds to guarantee that the defendant appears in court.
The first step in properly using a bail bondsman is to know the types of bail bonds that exist. There are 3 varieties of bail bonds: cash, property and surety. Cash bonds are cash or money orders and property bonds use valuable property as collateral. Surety bonds mostly resemble a loan. The bail bondsman pays the total amount of the bail to the court. The defendant pays a percentage of the bail amount to the bail bondsman thereby agreeing to appear in court.
When it’s time to purchase a surety bond, start by finding out what the bail amount is at the jail. The judge presiding over the case sets the bail amount by the severity of the crime and the possibility of the defendant being a flight risk. Some crimes are severe enough that bail is not granted. The sooner a defendant knows the amount of the bail, the sooner the defendant can begin to decide what course of action to take. Sometimes, a defendant may even request that a judge lower the bail amount.
To get a good bond, it’s important to understand that different states have different laws which dictate the fee percentage a bail bondsman is allowed to take. The standard fee is around 10%. Some states (thankfully, not Georgia) do not allow surety bail bonds. A court clerk can assist you with understanding bail bondsman fees. It’s up to you to choose a reputable company.
There are many ways to find a bail bondsman. Defendants can look online, in a phonebook, in a jail or a courthouse and elsewhere. Once the bail bondsman has come up with a license and a signed contract, it is time to pay the bail bondsman fee. If necessary, you can even pay online or over the phone! It is possible to discuss other forms of fee payment, if the bondsman fee is still too high. Collateral and property are the two most common forms of non-monetary fee payments.