How Do Bail Bond Companies Work?


The last thing that anyone wants to deal with is an arrest. However, that isn’t always completely within your power. Inappropriate or even unlawful arrests have been in the news recently, which has led a lot of people to questions their rights. Even if you were arrested lawfully, that doesn’t mean you can just get out on bail easily. Depending on what you’ve been charged with, you could be facing a rather high amount of bail being set. Bail is essentially the amount of money being put up as a sort of collateral, allowing you to leave jail while waiting for your case to move forward. The factors that determine the amount of money you’ll be required to pay in order to be “bailed out” can vary wildly, and are somewhat dependent on what the judge in your case sees fit. For example, two people could be charged with the same crime, but be required to pay different amounts of bail money due to the fact that one person has a criminal history and one does not. If a judge suspects that you might have the motivation to “skip town”, they might set your bail a bit higher in order to make it more difficult for you to be bailed out.

Of course, a lot of people don’t post bail by themselves. Bail can be remarkably expensive, and the last thing you want to do when already facing the financial burdens of court and attorney fees is take on another serious financial burden. This is what leads a lot of people to seek out bail bond services. At the same time, you can’t exactly be expected to get in touch with a bail bond company without fully understanding what they do. For some people, working with a bail bond company is so intimidating, and for that matter so skewed by fiction, that they’re reluctant to do so in the first place. Passing up the opportunity to make bail through a bail bonds company may be a huge mistake that could trouble you financially, or even lead to complications within your case. That’s why we’re demystifying the bail bonds process, and answering the question “how do bail bond companies work?”. Understanding this will make it easier for you to make bail, and to choose a company that will work for you or your loved one should you ever be in this position.

How Does Bail Work?

Before we delve into the question of how bail bond companies work, we have to first understand how bail works in principle. You don’t have to work with a bail bond company to make bail, after all. We covered it a bit above, but many don’t understand the limitations of bail and exactly how people come to work with companies rather than handling it themselves. The bail bonds process essentially involves posting an amount of money that does not simply get a defendant out of jail but keeps them out on bail throughout all proceedings and trials related to their case. The incentive for the defendant is really that they’ll remain present, and show up for all proceedings in order to recover their money should they be found innocent and get permanently released. While some bail amounts may be so high that you might be tempted to forego bail and stay in jail throughout proceedings, keep in mind that the courts are incredibly overloaded, and it may take weeks or even months for your proceedings to finish, even if you’re innocent and the case is relatively simple. Staying in jail during that time will at best be physically, emotionally, and even financially uncomfortable. At worst, it could be incredibly dangerous. Now, if your crime is less serious, you may be able to post bail immediately after you’re booked. This means that you won’t spend any time at all in jail, and the amount required will probably be relatively minor. If you do have to wait for your bail hearing, at which time the judge will determine how much you’ll owe for bail, the wait probably won’t be more than 48 hours. Not everyone is eligible for bail. Those that are considered serious flight risks or are accused of particularly high-level crimes will, as previously discussed, either have a higher amount of bail posted or won’t be considered eligible. Conversely, a judge could choose to waive bail entirely. This is one reason why a lot of people find themselves wondering “how do bail bond companies work?”. The bail process is much more complex than it may initially seem, and that alone makes working with a bail bond company preferable for a lot of people.

How Do Bail Bond Companies Work?

People turn to bail bond companies for a variety of different reasons. One of the main reasons, obviously, is that they lack the funds to post bail. If you’re a typical middle class person, you may very well find that a $100,000 bail is out of your means. For that reason, you’ll turn to a bail bond company to help you get the cash that you need in order to post bail in a timely manner. A bail bond company will usually be represented by a bail bondsman, who is an agent versus the part responsible for posting your bail. If you’re wondering “how do bail bond companies work”, you should know that the bail bondsman is actually backed by what is essentially an insurance company. This is called a surety company, and they essentially pledge to pay the full bond if the accused does not show up in court. Usually, a friend or family member will get into touch with the bail bond company, and the fact that they’re actually going to be responsible will presumably give the accused more incentive to stay in the area for their court proceedings. How does this work? Well, that person actually has to pay the bail bondsman’s premiums, and furthermore will actually have to put up some kind of collateral. This person will, therefore, take the hit if the accused does not return for their proceedings. Now, the bondsman will be out the bond itself in cases where the accused leaves town, which is where a bounty hunter comes into play.

Some of us may have an exaggerated idea of what a bail bondsman does, based on a lot of inaccurate fictional portrays. Some don’t even bother to look into the question of how do bail bond companies work, simply because they’re scared by the idea of engaging with a bounty hunter hired by an irritated bail bondsman. For one thing, you should know that in Illinois, Wisconsin, Oregon, and Kentucky you cannot even work with a commercial bail bondsman. Many states require bondsmen to be specifically licensed, and therefore more qualified to work with in theory than they would be without. However, you should check with your state’s requirements before engaging with a bail bondsman on a business level. That aside, there are also requirements in place for bounty hunters, and a bounty hunter isn’t simply engaged with casually by any bail bondsman. If the accused does attempt to run, a bail bonds company will try to get in touch with them in other ways first. The bounty hunter is paid on commission, and are liable in a way that police officers and other law enforcement agents are not. This means that while the accused certainly needs to understand that they can be pursued by a bounty hunter should they attempt to flee, it isn’t something that you should keep from working with a bail bondsman. After all, if you do attend all legal proceedings as necessary, you won’t have to worry about anything of the sort.

What Kinds of Collateral Do Bail Bond Companies Expect?

One of the major concerns that people have before working with a bail bond company in securing bail for another individual is collateral. Collateral is usually expected in exchange for bond from a bail bond company, and though some companies may have different expectations regarding collateral, you should assess what you have available before looking into “how do bail bond companies work”. Obviously, the value of the collateral may change depending on the value of the bail bond. The collateral may be forfeit if the accused does not appear in court. Therefore, it is yet another incentive both to encourage them to appear and to similarly encourage the person holding the collateral to ensure that they do so.

The most common form of collateral is property. If the courts do in fact seize the property used as collateral due to a lack of appearance, this would involve the sale of the property in order to compensate for the lost bond. However, this would not happen instantly. Usually, a property bail takes weeks to collect upon, and the equity of the property being sold must be equal to at least 150% of the bail owed to the court. Collateral will be released if bail is exonerated if the accused is found innocent, if the charges are dropped, or if the person is sentenced. Essentially, as long as the case is completed, the charges will be dropped. However, the premium that you negotiate with the bail bondsman may stipulate that you will not receive all of your collateral in return. Even when looking up “how do bail bond companies work”, you must remember that each company is going to operate somewhat differently, and your case will be unique. One thing to keep in mind is that you don’t have to commit to a bail bondsman’s services immediately, and you can seek bail advice from a lawyer first. But nonetheless, the longer you consider the issue the more time the accused will spend in jail.

Should I Work With A Bail Bond Company?

Again, it’s normal to feel concerned when deciding whether or not to work with a bail bond company, and looking up “how do bail bond companies work”. You’ll most likely be working under a somewhat high-pressure circumstance, and may feel rushed. Luckily, 24 hour bail bonds services are available, which means that you can consult with bail bond companies in an emergency. But you need to understand that if you’re considering working with a bail bond company, chances are that you already need their services.

There are a number of risks that come with staying in jail while awaiting a trial or other court proceedings. But another issue at hand is simply that of convenience. It will be easier for lawyers to work with the accused if they’re readily available, which they won’t be if they’re in jail. For that matter, working with a bail bond company, particularly in cases that aren’t overly high level, is relatively low risk if the accused is available for proceedings and appears as directed. While it does require a certain level of trust when you’re making a call for someone to help you bail out of jail, simply following the instructions will ensure the financial safety of all involved.

If you’re researching how do bail bond companies work, you probably aren’t all that familiar with them in the first place. When working with a bail bond company, be frank and upfront about your concerns, and what you need. It won’t do any good to work with a bail bondsman without total transparency. The more they know, the more they can help you. At the same time, you must take care to read over the fine print of any agreements you sign and to ask questions about anything that gives you concern.

It’s important to remember that there is a reason why people utilize bail bonds services. Even the fact that those that work with bail bondsmen are 20% more likely to appear for their court dates is worth considering. The next time that you look into “how do bail bond companies work“, don’t be so much worried, as you are glad that they can be of service!

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