How Do Bail Bonds Work?
What is a bail bond?
Posting a bail bond allows an accused person to be temporarily released from custody so they can continue their lives while they prepare for their day in court. The right to reasonable bail is guaranteed to you in the Eighth Amendment of the Constitution of the United States.
A bail bond is a financial guarantee made by or on behalf of a criminal defendant that is used to guarantee their appearance in court through the end of their trial upon release from custody. Failure by the defendant to appear will result in a bond forfeiture.
How is a bail bond paid?
The court system will set the amount of bail required for the defendant’s release. Under Texas state law, a surety company can provide an insurance policy or “bond” that guarantees payment of the full bail amount to the court if the defendant does not show up for all scheduled appearances. Because the amount of bail set by a judge can be too expensive for most defendants, licensed bail bond agencies will pay the bond in exchange for a percentage of the total bond amount.
For example, if a bond is set at $10,000, the bail bondsman would typically charge a bond premium of about $1,000 plus any additional fees required by the sheriff’s department, pay the bond to the court, and arrange the release of your loved one from jail.
Who is a co-signer / indemnitor / guarantor?
The person(s) willing to be responsible for the defendant while they are out on bail and co-assumes financial liability to guarantee the full bond amount is typically referred to as a co-signer, indemnitor, or guarantor.
What is a bail bond exoneration?
A bail bond is exonerated when the legal process or trial has finished. It does not matter whether the defendant is found guilty or innocent or the case is dismissed. At this point, the liability for the bond amount is discharged and any unpaid premium, fees, or charges incurred by the bail agency on your behalf are still owed to that agency.
When does a bail bond forfeiture take place?
Bail bond forfeiture results when a court appearance is missed. If a defendant misses a court date, a bench warrant is issued for their arrest. The court also sets a deadline for when the defendant must be located and returned to custody or the bail bond is “reinstated” or the bail amount must be paid to the court. At McRae Bail Bonds, we can assist in reinstating a bond at no additional cost.
If I pay for the bail bond myself, when do I get my money back?
If you posted the full bail amount with the court yourself, this money will be released to you at the conclusion of the court process, provided the defendant appeared at all required court dates. If you elected to use a bail agency to post your bond, the agency is initially responsible to the court for the bond amount. The defendant and co-signer are responsible to the bail agency for the premium and any fees or additional expenses incurred by the agency on their behalf and are not subject to return. This is the case even if the defendant is found innocent, the case is dismissed, or the defendant is placed back into custody for another offense.
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