What You Need to Know About Bail and Bonds

In the unfortunate event that you have been accused of breaking the law and are arrested, you will likely come into contact with the system of bail and bonds. In the past, we have discussed what to do if you’re arrested, and it’s just as important to know ways to spend as little time in jail as possible. This article will show you the differences between bail and bonds and how they can help you in a difficult situation.

What Exactly Are Bail and Bonds?

Bail and bond are two terms used in the criminal justice system that refer to the release of a defendant from jail before their trial. The dollar amount set forth by the judge and whether or not the defendant can pay it on their own usually determines whether it is considered “bail” or a “bond.” Both are financial guarantees that the defendant will return to court for each scheduled appearance.  However, if the defendant fails to appear, a warrant may be issued for their arrest, and the privilege of staying out of jail is revoked until the end of the trial when a verdict is found.

Traditionally, bail is considered an amount that can be paid by the defendant, close friend, or family member. Bond is a type of financial arrangement where the defendant essentially “borrows” money from a bail bond company. It’s very similar to a credit system in that it involves non-refundable fees, and interest rates can vary from person to person. The bond company will post bail with the court as a sign of good faith that the defendant will return for their court dates. 

Are Bail Bond Companies Responsible For the Defendant?

Bail bond companies do not need to use physical tactics to ensure that the defendant will return for their court dates. Although a bail bond company will give defendants the opportunity to stay home with their families as they work with their attorney to develop their case, they do not act as nor represent any law enforcement agency. They use financial tactics as a way of deterring clients from neglecting to appear. For example, the bail bond company is responsible for paying the full bail amount regardless of whether or not the defendant appears for their court dates. They usually require the defendant or their family to provide collateral, such as property as a way to secure the bond. Bail bond companies are able to put a lien on a home, or repossess vehicles in the event that they need to recoup their losses. 

Some bond companies will also require that the defendant sign an agreement to comply with certain conditions in order to release the funds. They may require that defendants have periodic check-ins, remain employed, or remain within state or county lines until the end of the court date as a way of ensuring their court date attendance. If the defendant fails to follow through with the agreement or attend their court date, the bail bond company may hire a bounty hunter to collect the defendant and bring them to law enforcement. Returning the defendant to custody will release them from their obligation to pay on behalf of the defendant.

No criminal accusation requires the same amount of bail. To avoid unreasonable bail expectations, you should seek the aid of an attorney who can attempt to negotiate with the judge on your behalf. If you or a loved one has been accused of a crime, the attorneys at the Law Offices of Charles A. Banker are prepared to handle your case with the professionalism and care it deserves. Contact our office to schedule a consultation today.

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The Law Offices of Charles A. Banker, III

Our firm’s founder, Charles A. Banker III, has been a solo criminal defense practitioner with offices in Houston and McAllen, TX for over 30 years. He understands what it means to work independently in today’s hyperconnected world, but he also knows that sometimes you need to lean on others.

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