Bail Bonds 101

After being arrested and taken into custody, one of the defendant's primary concerns is securing their temporary release prior to trial. This is done through meeting the conditions of bail bonds, which consists of a certain amount of money set by the judge. This amount is determined after taking into account the nature of the defendant's crime, as well as the propensity of the defendant to flee trial.

Paying the full amount dictated by the bail bonds is one means of properly fulfilling its conditions. Typically, if the defendant shows up at all court hearings as ordered, that amount may be returned post-trial without subtraction of fees, regardless of the defendant's "guilty" or "not guilty" status. However, if the agreement laid out by the bail bond is violated, and the defendant fails to make required appearances, then the money will likely be forfeited.

One can also choose to hire a bail bondsman (also commonly referred to as a bail bond agent) to take care of the entire process. Thanks to their expertise and resources, they are typically able to secure the release of their clients within a mere few hours - for a fee, of course, usually for about 10-12% of the bail's total amount. That fee can be considered as a purchased "insurance policy"; thus, the defendant should not expect that amount to be refunded.

Bail bonds, in that case, essentially become documents solidifying the contractual obligation between the bail bondsman and the person posting bail. The bail bondsman, upon posting bail, agrees to guarantee the defendant's return to court. If that defendant violates that agreement, then the bail bondsman is authorized by law to track the defendant down-typically with the help of a bounty hunter - bring him/her back to court and re-secure the money paid out for the bail bond.

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