Posting bail for a loved one or friend can be confusing. Perhaps this will help you understand your options.
Why is bail set?
The purpose of bail is to insure that the person charged with an offense appears at all scheduled court hearings.
How is bail determined?
A bond is set one of three ways: either by a preset amount stated on the warrant, or based on a preset bond schedule set by the judge for the offense charged, or by the Judge at the arraignment.
Where is bail posted?
If the person is charged with an offense that has a preset bond, the defendant or someone on his/her behalf may post the bail at the court and if the court is closed, at the law enforcement agency charging the person.
Are there different types of bonds?
Yes. Some bonds only require a signature for release, some need cash posted to be released, while others need a bondsman to post a surety with the court. Your responsibility depends on the type of bond that is set by the court.
What are the three kinds of bonds?
- Recognizance Bond (Unsecured Appearance Bond) - Sometimes referred to as a P.R. Bond. This one only requires the person who is charged with the offense to sign bond papers that are completed by the Clerk's Office. It releases the accused in exchange for his/her promise to appear at court at a designated time. No other collateral need be posted. Failure to appear for all future court dates under a recognizance bond is a first degree misdemeanor.
- Appearance Bond (Cash Bond) - This type of bond only requires 10% of the full amount of the bond to be posted. For example, if a $20,000.00 bond is set, you will only need to post $2,000.00 with the Clerk's Office or the Law Enforcement Agency for the defendant to be released. If the person charged with the offense attends all court appearances, 90% of the money posted may be returned. Fines and costs may be paid out of this money before it is returned.
- Surety Bond - This bond requires it to be secured by real estate, securities, or a cash deposit for the full amount of the bond at the option of the defendant. The posting of a surety power from an insurance company that guarantees the full amount of the bond is permitted. The bondsman will pay in the event the defendant does not appear for a scheduled court hearing and cannot be found as ordered by the Court.
Representatives of bonding companies are not agents of the court nor are they employed by the court. Bonding companies can be found by looking in the yellow pages of the telephone book.