A bail bond is a document that nobody cares about unless and until it’s needed. Then it becomes very important because it may mean you stay in jail or get out. That’s what the bail bond document does; it spells freedom – at a price. If you are charged with a crime, from a fairly simple infraction such as getting a warrant to a more serious crime such as theft, you may be put in jail to await your trial. A bail bond will get you out – now.
A bail bondsman (or woman) will post a bond for your release. The cost could run into thousands of dollars. The bond money, known as a surety bond, is the guarantee that you will appear on the specified court date. To cover the possibility that you don’t appear, a bondsman will charge you, or another person paying for the bond, about 10% of the total cash amount of the bond. Besides a bondsman, a family member or a friend can also guarantee your appearance by paying for your bond with cash or real property.
In addition to the service of posting the bond, the aim of the bondsman is to get you out of jail as quickly as possible. Most bondsmen will take a phone call from jail at any hour and will start the freedom process immediately. In addition, most bondsmen are well experienced with state laws and know how to get someone’s release from jail in a short time.
What happens if the bondsman guarantees your appearance and you don’t show up in court as ordered? The penalties may vary from state to state, but generally if the person does not appear on the specified date, the bond money is forfeited and an arrest warrant for the disappeared person is issued.
If that person cannot be located, a so-called bounty hunter may be sent out to find him or her, and the bail bond money now belongs to the court. Depending upon the jailed person’s history with the court, a grace period may be issued to find the missing person. In some instances, a bench warrant may be issued by the court to find the missing defendant. The longer the missing person is at large, the higher go the court costs.
What happens to bail money if you do show up for the court date? The court may use some money to pay for fees or fines from the case. The rest goes back to the bondsman.
Other Release Methods
Although bail bondsmen are a well-known method of getting people out of jail, there are other operating methods for release. The court may accept a so-called total amount cash bond. The court may also allow a person with no criminal record and considered to be only a slight risk to be released on “his or her own recognizance.” A Cite Out, which is a traffic-like citation, may be issued that requires a person to appear in court at a specified date but does not require any jail time.
Rodney Floyd is a professional bail bondsman with RODNEY OKC Bail Bonds in Noble, OK. Rodney is passionate about sharing information online through his blogs, on Facebook, and provides local bail bonds services in Noble, Oklahoma to the local community.