Identifying the bail bonds
Bail bonds can be a confusing topic for most of us, especially if you’ve never had to obtain one or help anyone to bail out of jail. It may be surprising how many people don’t know what bail bonds even are actually. So, what is bail and is that different from bail bonds and is bail 10 percent of what the judge declares? Read on for a clear definition:
Bail is the amount a judge determines a defendant to pay in order to be released from custody until their hearing. Its purpose is to ensure the courts that the defendant will appear for all required court dates.
Bail bonds are for those defendants that don’t have the funds to pay the full bail to the courts. Bail bonds are available through bail bonds agents for 10% cash bail that will post the required bail with the courts. An agreement or contract is signed by the defendant or a person representing them, usually family member or friend, agreeing to pay 10 percent of bail. The agreement or contract states they will pay the full amount of the bail should the defendant skip town and not appear before the courts.
Within the world of bail bonds, there are two forms:
- Criminal Bail Bonds: For defendants faced with criminal charges. These bail bonds guarantee the defendant will appear for trial as set by the courts and guarantees payment for the fines or penalties decided by the judge and/or jury.
- Civil Bail Bonds: For a person faced with a civil case and guarantees the payment of the debt owed, plus other costs and interest as assessed.
Do you have to pay 10 percent of bail?
Each state has different laws when it comes to posting bail and bail bonds process. In Michigan, the 10 percent cash deposit bond is the single option that doesn’t have a cost for posting bail. The full ten percent is returned once the defendant has appeared for all court ordered hearings. If the defendant receives their bail bonds with a bail bonds agent by way of a surety bond, the ten percent premium payment remains and is paid to the bail bonds agent.
How much bail do you actually pay?
The only option by Michigan law is the 10 Percent Cash Deposit Bond with the entire ten percent returned if the defendant has appeared all court ordered hearings. Court costs and fees are subtracted from a cash bail then remaining is returned to the defendant, again, if all court ordered hearings are attended.
When a surety bond is taken, a ten percent premium payment is due to the bail bonds agent or company. All defendants may be charged additional costs with posting bail like a $10 processing fee as well as a $12 booking fee.
What happens to my bail money?
It is expensive to bail somebody out of jail, and what’s more, you may be out that money for good. Here is a summary of bails and what can be expected by those who post bail.
A Surety Bail Bonds
This is when you enlist the service of a bail bonds agent. They will draw up a surety bond in the name of the defendant and the person enlisting the bail bonds service will pay only 10% of bail amount of the bail established by the judge at the arraignment. A bail bonds premium is non-refundable and is considered a fee paid to the bail bonds agent for their services. The bail bonds agent is taking on responsibility for managing the defendant and assuring they will appear before the court as ordered.
A Cash Bail
If the defendant has the cash or has somebody come to bail them that pays in all cash, the full amount will be refunded after the defendant has made all court appointment dates. If the defendant fails to show for any court ordered appearance, the full amount of the cash bail is forfeited, and a warranty is issued for the defendant’s arrest. Other scenarios:
- The defendant is found not guilty at their hearing – the bond is discharged
- The defendant pleads guilty – the bond is discharged at sentencing
A Property Bond
If the defendant or family member or friend of the defendant doesn’t have the cash to post bail or enlist the services of a bail bonds agent, a property bond may be offered. The property’s real value needs to be in excess of the bail set by the judge for the defendant to be released. If the defendant fails to show for court, the property offered for bond will be seized by the court or the bail bonds agent.
Can you reverse a bail bond?
As the indemnitor, you can present your request to the bail bonds agent. It is their final decision, but you should review the agreement or contract you signed, as it will state if that is allowed and what limits are applied.
You will need state the reason why you want to revoke your bail and if the bail bonds agent permits this, they will then inform the court. If the defendant has not been released, they will be kept detained and given the opportunity to post bail by other arrangements. There may be fees associated with bail revocation.
Can I get out of a bail bond contract?
No, once a bail bonds contract is signed, it is binding. Bail bonds agents only accept clients they feel confident are going to be responsible for the bail, so if financial hardship has struck, the bail bonds is set in place and non-cancelable.
When a loved one or friend has contacted you for help to post bail, it may be worth contacting an attorney first before enlisting the services of bail bonds agent. Depending on the charge and the guilty or not guilty status, the defendant is likely to need a defense attorney anyway. They can post bail on behalf of the defendant like a bail bonds agent. Call 844-YOU-WALK today.