Getting out of judicial custody is rarely easy, even if there are zero complications to the case. Bail bonds help a criminal defendant set foot outside the prison temporarily. However, the sheer number of bail bonds available add quite a bit of complexity to the entire process. In this article, we’ll talk about what are these bonds, how they work, and their various types.
What are Bail Bonds?
A form of surety bond, a bail bond is basically a criminal defendant agreeing to pay a certain sum of money ascertained by the court. A bail bondsman co-signs the bail bond for a fee that’s payable by the defendant.
Commercial bonds exist only in America and the Philippines. A bail, in other countries, could comprise a set of conditions and restrictions placed on defendants so that they need not be in prison until trial dates.
How Do Bail Bonds Work?
An individual charged with a wrongdoing or crime is usually provided a bail hearing in front of the judge. The judge decides the bail amount.
A judge could decline bail completely or set the bail amount extremely high if the criminal defendant comes across as flight risk or is accused of a heinous crime. Flight risk is basically a person considered likely to flee a country before their bail hearing or trial.
Generally, judges enjoy extensive latitude as far as setting bail amounts goes. Sums typically differ by jurisdiction. A criminal defendant accused of a nonviolent crime could have their bail amount set below $1,000. Felony crime charges, on the other hand, have high bail amounts, with more than $20,000 being not common at all.
Once the bail amount is determined, the defendant can choose to stay in prison and wait for the charges against them to be resolved during trial or pay the bail sum in full. In some jurisdictions, courts accept title to a property or any other collateral of an equivalent value.
Types of Bail Bonds
The following are some of the common bail bond types:
• Citation Release
Out of all bail bond types, citation release is considered the most ideal as the criminal would never truly be taken into custody. Such a bail bond is given if the arresting officer doesn’t take the accused to the station, but issues a citation ordering the suspect to show up in front of the judge on a particular date. A citation release is usually given for lesser crimes, such as traffic violations.
• Recognizance Release
This bail bond type is also known for its less stringent stipulations. No money is required – the defendant only has to promise on their part that they would appear before the judge on a specified date. Once the paperwork is signed, the defendant goes off custody. Though there isn’t any cost incurred for the release, a fine would be levied if the defendant doesn’t appear in the court. Recognizance release is usually provided based on the arresting officers’ discretion.
• Cash Bail
Cash bail is quite self-explanatory. It’s a bail paid in cash. The defendant can pay cash for any bail provided they have the money. Several corrections departments would accept only cash bail, and not settle with credit cards or cashier’s checks. While cash or other payment modes work for all bail, some bails could be paid only in cash. Usually, this is done in the case of major crimes wherein bail can’t be denied, but the concern over the arrested person fleeing away exists. In such cases, the bail cost is set so high that paying it fully in cash is next to impossible.
• Surety Bond
If the defendant has to be out of custody and doesn’t have cash access, associating with a bail bondsperson is the only route to return to life. Surety bond is the first kind of bond a bail bondsman could offer. Securing such a bond entails paying 10 percent of the bail sum to the bondsman and promising to appear in court when summoned upon.
• Property Bond
Property bonds aren’t that common. With such bonds, complete property rights get used as collateral. Several different kinds of property could be used, with real estate being the most common. Acquiring a property bond is time-consuming. While surety bonds could be had within an hour, property bonds need property assessment to be carried out and a court hearing that confirms all things have been agreed upon.