What is A Bail Bondsman?
Bail is a condition and a right set forth by precedent from as far back as Babylon, to Ancient Greece, in England 's Magna Carta and now in the 8th Amendment of the United States Constitution. Bail is defined and incorporated in individual State Constitutions, which vary from State to State. Each State has placed hold varying values on bail and maintains different views on the value of the commercial bail industry. No matter which state that you're in, that allows commercial bail, the independent professional commercial insurance Bail Bondsmen provide for a much safer, cost effective and professional avenue that guarantees the appearance of a defendant while out on bail.
The Bondsman operates closely within and around the criminal justice system and is expected to maintain the highest performance and ethical standards. A violation of any of his duties finds a Bondsman threatened with extremely harsh financial penalties in cases of defendant non-performance. Further, the Professional Bail Bondsman facilitates the preservation of the presumption of innocence which is essential if an accused individual should have unbiased criminal proceedings against them. ‘‘This traditional right to freedom before conviction permits the unhampered preparation of a defense, and serves to prevent the infliction of punishment prior to conviction. ‘Unless this right to bail before trial is preserved, the presumption of innocence, secured only after centuries of struggle, would lose its meaning.'' 1 Stack v. Boyle, 342 U.S. 1, 4.
Although a private commercial bail industry, Bail Bondsmen undergo thorough and rigorous security background checks and scrutiny as the results are aggregated and maintained by the government. In today's society procedures and the quality of the Bail Bondsmen have drastically changed for the better than the days of old. Bail Bondsman candidate's personal pedigree information which includes, but not limited to, fingerprints, employment history, arrest record/raps sheet and backgrounds are scrupulously reviewed and scrutinized by the Florida Attorney General office, Federal Bureau of Investigations and other state and local law enforcement agencies such
The Basics About Bail Bonds:
This process involves a contractual undertaking presented to the court and guaranteed by a Bail Bondsman and the individual(s) paying for bail (Indemnitor(s). The bail agent guarantees the court that the defendant will appear in court each and every time the Judge requires them to do so. The Bondsman or company makes the deal or promise under oath with the court to make certain the defendant appears as required or they will pursue the fugitive absconder and bring him/her back to jail voluntarily or involuntarily without delay.
As they will also hold the Indemnitor (s) financially responsible if the defendant should fail his end of the deal. In turn the Indemnitor (s) make a contractual deal with the Bondsman that they will assure the defendant complies with the bail regulations which includes going to every court date, on time, and they are responsible for advising or reminding the defendant complies with dates, times and other requirements set forth by the court and the Bondsman/company. If the defendant and or Indemnitor(s) on a particular bail fail their portion of the bond responsibility, compliance and performance clauses found in the contracts they have agreed to, serious financial ramifications by the Court via the Bondsman will result.
Typical Charges and Fees:
For this service, the defendant is charged a percentage of the bail amount, bail premiums begin at 10% of the total bail bond amount plus any additional fees that may be incurred. Bail premiums are mandated by each state and are not negotiable. Before being released the defendant or a relative or friend of the defendant, typically contacts a bail agent to arrange for the posting of bail. Prior to the posting of a bail bond, the defendant or a co-signer aka inseminator’s(s) must guarantee that they will pay the full amount of bail bond, any and all out of pocket expenses, in addition to any performance & compliance expenses if the defendant does not appear in court or adhere to the contractual undertakings. Typically, a family member or a close friend of the defendant will post bail and co-sign. The court through public policy may from time to time determine that the relationship of an Indemnitor(s) to a defendant are not significant enough as to convince the Judge that an Indemnitor(s) has the power to sway and be responsible for a defendant's compliance with the Courts and Bondsman bail requirements.
Collateral or Securing Bail / Collateral Roulette:
Collateral for posting cash bail with the court or jail Collateral or money held as security, until a criminal case is over, in most states is required for a person to be bailed from jail. For Bail Bonds in Florida you can expect collateral to be required equaling no less than 30% and up to 50% of the amount of bail bond or a home/condo/co-op with equity exceeding the bail bond amount depending on the Judge and the severity of the charges. At times Indemnitors can be creative and offer many different services in lieu of collateral. Everything is usually considered but rarely accepted. It is extremely rare for a person to be bailed from jail on merely a signature of a friend or family member. Signature bail bonds might be true only in the movies.
What Will You Need To Bring To Post Bail Normally?
To post bail you need to bring the fee in cash (unless other arrangements were previously authorized), the collateral (whatever you discussed with the Bondsman) legal identification, 2 current pay stubs that run concurrently (if not a bank statements with income deposits), a utility bill (must have one of these with your current address: gas, water, electric, telephone, cable or cell phone). In cases of a 10-99 or independent contractor status a tax return and bank statement might be required. Co-signers or Indemnitors typically need to be working and either own or rent an apartment or home.
What Happens After You Reach An Agreement With The Bondsman?
After an agreement is reached, the bail agent makes his attempt to post a bond for the amount of the bail, to guarantee the defendant's return to court. The Bondsman approaches the Judge in the courtroom as does an attorney and submits a bail application on the behalf of his client, the defendant. The Judge reviews the details of the application and asks any questions they may have regarding the information contained in the application. It is important to note that although bails are approved in most cases no one can ever guarantee 100% that a Judge will approve a bail application. The reasons for this can be very complex and vary on the individual Judges preferences or bias.
We have talked to most of the Judges around and know the preferences of each increasing the probability of bail approval. We know what the Judges preferences for collateral are and although we do not agree with the Judges preference for same. We comply with basic requirements for now in order to assist our clients get released from jail expeditiously. If a bonds company promises you 100% success probability when you are seeking information on bail we suggest you hang up the telephone and call someone else quickly, preferably us. Although it may be true that personal or professional familiarity between the Court and the Bondsman may exist they are personal matters that never have a bearing on the outcome of a criminal inquiry, bail hearing or approval of a bail bond. Anyone stating such familiarity is merely stating facts and is never intended to be any offer guaranteeing results of any undertaking previously agreed to. Once a Bondsman undertakes to post a bail no one beside the Indemnitor(s) (in total) may sway his resolve to post same unless a problem arises with the bail application. Once a bail is in process it is almost impossible to contact the Bondsman to terminate actions.
Time Frame for Release From Contract to Posting of Bail Bond:
The Bondsman attempts to post bail as soon as possible as the request for bails pile up and people want to be released from jail quickly. Sometimes if a bail is written after a certain period of time during the day it will not be posted until the next day. We do not delay on purpose, simply we work with the court schedule and night court in many places is not an option. Bail in Lee County for example is best executed Monday-through Friday before 10 AM to 3PM.
From Posting of Bail Bond to Freedom from Jail:
After Bail is posted an outside vendor usually couriers the Judges signed release order to the jail. Typically, civilians are not allowed to even touch the release orders. This fact of course, as in everything else in the criminal justice system, varies from place to place and person to person and from jail to jail. Like everything else the courier is privy to information such as the changing of the guard in jails, the changing of tour, the official body count and the computer system refresh times etc. After the courier finds the appropriate time to drop off the release order the Correction Department or Sheriff's Departments usually take anywhere from 2-6 hours to process a release of a prisoner. This of course also depends on what day of the week it is (holidays, club nights etc.) more persons take off from work calling in sick and the smallest priority in lieu of a staff shortage is releasing a prisoner quickly as opposed to prison safety and security.
During the time frame of drop off of paperwork and release the Jails will not give any information on release times. Sometimes guards that are overworked and facilities that are understaffed the prison would suggest or imply that the release order was never dropped-off by the Bondsman excusing any delay on their part for releasing a prisoner. If you did not have any reason to believe that the Bondsman would not be dropping off a release order I would not count on what the guard is saying to be true. However, a Bondsman by law can withhold the delivery of the release order if a condition was not completed by Indemnitor's or new information that was found about a defendant's case materialized. It is important to note that, Judges order the release of prisoners into the sole custody of the Bondsman and not the family members paying for bail. However, it is the sole responsibility of the Indemnitor's and not the bail company or Bondsman to advise the Bailee that it is mandatory that he/she to report to the Bondsman 24hrs after he/she is released from custody and announce his presence for initial processing. The defendant is expected to report on a weekly basis announcing his attendance and signing in the weekly log within a certain day and business hours. In some cases, a defendant, for whatever the reasons. cause the family and the Bondsman the ultimate headache; they skip or fail to comply with the rules, regulations and contractual terms agreed to. If the defendant "skips", does not report, does not go to court appearances and or any and all other appearances as designated by civil authority or judge(s), or does not comply with any and all bail conditions, the co-signer(s) aka Indemnitor's(s) are immediately responsible to pay the Bondsman and the bail company the full amount of the bail plus any and all expenses. If the defendant is located and arrested by the bail agent or his designee, the co-signer(s) jointly and severely responsible for any and all additional expenses the bail agent/company has or may incur while looking for, attempting to apprehend, transporting and lodging the defendant and the security team. Pleading ignorance by indemnitor(s) or defendant in violation of terms and conditions will never be acceptable as defense or excuse.
It is important to note that, Judge's release the prisoners (defendant) into the sole custody of the Bondsman and not the family members paying for bail. That means while the case is active the defendant must comply with the specific instruction of the Bondsman or his designee. Any non-compliance with judge's orders, violation of bail performance and compliance contracts, obstruction of the normal operation of a reporting facility or harassment or threat of any type to anyone under the employ of the Bondsman or any disruption however minor will be considered an openly hostile act and defendant will be sought and taken into custody to be returned to jail. We do not like to do this but sometimes defendants are either chemically dependent, are not taking prescribed remedies or are downright ornery and actions need to be taken by the Bondsman or his designee to quickly remedy an issue that may get out of hand.
We have found that over 98% of defendants never have a severe problem or issue while out on bail with us. We have found that our naturally respectful nature, the value we have placed on the absolute importance of a defendant maintaining his dignity, exchange of information between the Bondsman, Indemnitors and defendant/client, calm reasoning and explanation, cooperation makes for a smooth uneventful bail bond experience. The cooperation of Indemnitors that are actively seeking to be informed, as they call in almost every week to check-up on a defendant's status and remind him/her of obligations made is the number one formula for successful conclusion of a bail bond experience. We look forward in helping you reach that goal together.
Getting Out of Jail After an Arrest:
What you need to know about bail (what it is, how it's set, and how to pay it.): A person's first thought upon landing in jail is often how to get out and fast. The usual way to do this to "post bail." Bail is cash or a cash equivalent that an arrested person gives to a court to ensure that he will appear in court when ordered to do so. If the defendant appears in court at the proper time, the court refunds the bail. But if the defendant doesn't show up, the court keeps the bail and issues a warrant for the defendant's arrest.
How Bail Is Set:
Judges are responsible for setting bail. Because many people want to get out of jail immediately (instead of waiting up to five days to see a judge), most jails have standard bail schedules that specify bail amounts for common crimes. An arrested person can get out of jail quickly by paying the amount set forth in the bail schedule.
The Eighth Amendment to the U. S. Constitution requires that bail not be excessive. This means that bail should not be used to raise money for the government or to punish a person for being suspected of committing a crime. Remember: The purpose of bail is to give an arrested person her freedom until she is convicted of a crime, and the amount of bail must be no more than is reasonably necessary to keep her from fleeing before a case is over. So much for theory. In fact, many judges set an impossibly high bail in particular types of cases (such as those involving drug sales or rape) to keep a suspect in jail until the trial is over. Although bail set for this purpose called preventative detention is thought by many to violate the Constitution, courts have uniformly rejected this argument (the issue has never been decided by the U.S. Supreme Court, the ultimate arbiter of what is and is not constitutional). If a person can't afford the amount of bail on the bail schedule, he or she can ask a judge to lower it. Depending on the state, this request must be made either in a special bail setting hearing or when the person appears in court for the first time (usually called the arraignment).
Bail can take any of the following forms: Cash or check for the full amount of the bail, Property worth the full amount of the bail a bond (that is, a guaranteed payment of the full bail amount), or a waiver of payment on the condition that the defendant appear in court at the required time (commonly called "release on one's own recognizance"). A bail bond is like a check held in reserve: It represents the person's promise that he or she will appear in court when required to. The bail bond is purchased by payment of a non-refundable premium (usually about 10% of the face amount of the bond).
Getting Out of Jail Free:
Sometimes people are released "on their own recognizance," or "O.R." A defendant released O.R. must simply sign a promise to show up in court. He doesn't have to post bail. A defendant commonly requests release on his own recognizance at his first court appearance. If the judge denies the request, he then asks for low bail. In general, defendants who are released O.R. have strong ties to a community, making them unlikely to flee. Factors that may convince a judge to grant an O.R. release include the following:
•The defendant has family members (most likely parents, a spouse or children) living in the community.
•The defendant has resided in the community for many years.
•The defendant has a job.
•The defendant has little or no past criminal record, or any previous criminal problems were minor and occurred many years earlier.
•The defendant has been charged with previous crimes and has always appeared as required.