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Bail Bonds. How They Work and Why They’re Useful.

Being arrested doesn’t have to mean you will spend a significant amount of time in jail after your arrest. The bail bond system allows someone who has been arrested for a crime to be released from jail pending their trial. This important facet of the criminal justice system ensures that you can continue to work, as well as consult with your criminal attorney regarding your defense strategy. The bail bond system often requires the use of money or property as collateral to assure that you will appear in court on your scheduled trial date.

How Bail Bonds are Set

In most state courts the amount of the bond paid for bail is set by a schedule related to an administrative order signed by the chief judge in the applicable jurisdiction.  Each offense has a predetermined bail amount, based in part on the severity of crime, that must be posted prior to release from jail.  Examples of many crimes that will have a schedule bond attached are Grand Theft, Petit Theft, Simple Possession of Narcotics, or Disorderly Conduct.  Under these schedules and in nearly every state court, bail is not available to people who are viewed as flight risks or when they are determined to pose a danger to the community.

Types of Bonds

In some instances, people are released from jail without bond. In this situation, they are released on their own recognizance. In all other situations a bond must be posted and there are two types:

  • Cash Bond.Just as it sounds, a cash bond requires that the entire amount of the bail be paid prior to your release. Cash bonds are most often required when the bail amount is low. Some defendants anticipate receiving a refund of the full amount of the bond after their required court appearance, but that is rarely the case. There are often fees, fines and other payments that are due and so the court keeps some or all of the bond to pay them.
  • Surety Bond.These bonds are used when the bail amount is beyond the ability of most defendants to pay out of pocket. When this occurs, a bail bondsman is used to cover the cost of the bond. The bail bondsman pays the court the full bail amount and the defendant pays the bondsman a percentage of the bail as a fee for the service.  The bail bondsman’s money is returned when the defendant appears in court. Many states, including Florida, have drafted laws that determine the amount a bail bondsman must charge to avoid people paying too much or bondsmen charging too little to cut out their competition.

After the bond is posted, the defendant is released from jail. The bond amount is forfeited if the defendant does not appear in court. To protect their interests, bondsmen who have posted surety bonds will often work with their clients to assure that they do not miss their hearing dates.

Criminal Defense Attorneys and Bail Bondsmen

Experienced criminal defense attorneys always work with reputable bail bondsmen because they perform a necessary function. Using a bail bondsman allows an attorney to:

  • Provide their clients with the ability to post bail regardless of their financial status;
  • Have access to their clients outside of the prison or jail system;
  • Allows for their clients to speak with someone who is an expert on the bail bond process; and
  • Assures that their client will appear for all necessary hearings or trials.

The bond system allows a person to work, care for their families, and assist in the preparation of their defense even though they are facing criminal charges.  A person in need may also begin therapy services, make restitution, or take other action to mitigate their sentence.  Simply put, when a person is out on bond, it is easier for their attorney to communicate with them and represent them to the best of the attorney’s ability.

Wait to Hire a Bail Bondsman

After an arrest, some people panic and immediately contact a bail bondsman to secure their release. This is the wrong tactic. Instead, contact Jason Mayberry, at The Mayberry Law Firm to see if we can mitigate the impact of the arrest by:

  • Getting you released on your own recognizance which eliminates the need for bail;
  • Possibly negotiating a reduced charge to lower the amount of the bail; or
  • Negotiating with the State to avoid more serious charges being filed and therefor increasing the bail amount.

Once our firm has evaluated your case at this early stage, we will be able to advise if bail must be paid and if a bail bondsman is required.

Bail bondsman are a necessary component of the criminal justice system.  That said, never hire one without first consulting with a skilled criminal defense attorney.  If you want to learn more, this bail bonds company has a downloadable guide on its website.  If you’ve been arrested, our firm will represent your interests from the moment you contact him or her, and will determine if additional resources, including a bondsman, is necessary.  If you’ve been arrested, please contact the Mayberry Law Firm today and and let our experienced criminal defense attorneys provide the skilled representation that addresses your unique needs.