This topic has been all over the news for the last few years. There has been a lot of debate regarding whether or not the US tradition of requiring a “bail” is fair and does it harms poor criminals more than the more affluent ones. We will examine this topic objectively from both sides, hoping you can make an educated decision.
In the US (in most states), when a person is charged with a crime, the judge will require an amount of money called bail to be set. The court must pay this bail before the defendant can be released from custody. Since the bail amount is an incentive for the defendant to show up to court, the judge bases the amount on the seriousness of the crime, the defendant’s flight risk, and whether he or she is a danger to society. If the defendant does not have access to the amount of the bail, in some cases, a bail bond company will post the bail amount on their behalf for a 10% to 15% fee.
The main benefit of bail bond services is that, as you will see below, defendants who use a bail bonds company show up for their court dates. This has been proven repeatedly in states that have switched to a court deposit system and gone away from traditional bail requirements. Without exceptions, states that do not promote or allow bail bond services have epidemic levels of defendants missing their court dates.
Bail Bonds Company Services:
A Bail Bonds Company provides five essential services for their fee. These basic services are listed in the bullet points below. The bullet points are links that will take you to more details on each topic. When you click on a link to get back to this bullet list, hit your browser back button.
- Posts Bail On Behalf Of Defendants
- Provides Payment Plans
- Requires the Defendant To Check In Regularly
- Reminds Defendant Of Court Date
- Brings Defendant In If They Miss Court
Posts Bail On Behalf Of Defendants
The idea behind bail is that it should be based on the seriousness of the crime, the defendant’s flight risk, and their danger to society. It makes sense that the more serious the crime, the more likely the defendant is to skip bail, and the more dangerous the defendant is, the harder it should be for them to get out of jail. Our first concern is protecting society and getting those charged with crimes to attend court dates.
A bail bond company’s job is to make the unaffordable bail amount affordable on a critical condition. If the defendant puts some skin in the game by putting up a deposit and checking in regularly, it is more reasonable for them to be released from jail. So, a bail bonds company is a mediator of sorts. We enable more defendants to get out of prison to prepare better for their court dates. And we provide added assurances to the justice system that the defendant will show up for trial.
Provides Payment Plans
One of the critics’ most prominent complaints about the traditional United States bail system is that the poorer in our society have a harder time coming up with their bail amount than more affluent defendants. A bail bonds company like McRae Bail Bonds does its best to remedy this problem while at the same time providing supervision to ensure that defendants honor their obligation to show up for trial.
There is no doubt that this is a negative situation for the defendant, his loved ones, and the victim of the crime. A bail bond company does its best to provide as much of a win-win scenario as possible at times like this. Defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty in the United States Of America. But if they are guilty and dangerous to society, we must ensure they attend trial. Statistically, a bail service does this better than any other system.
Requires The Defendant To Check In Regularly
This is self-explanatory. A bail bondsman is responsible for paying the entire bail bond if the defendant fails to attend court. Therefore, a bail bonds agent is vested in ensuring the defendant shows up. So, since defendants sometimes don’t show, a reasonable bail bondsman has him or her show up, call in, or in some other way check in regularly so that they can keep an eye on the defendant. This is why such a high percentage of bail bonds agent clients make their court dates.
Reminds Defendant Of Court Date
As I have mentioned above since the bail bondsman has a vested financial interest in making sure the defendant makes it to court, they keep tabs on them, and as the date gets close, they remind them of their obligation to show up. This is another reason a bail bonds company will offer the defendant a payment plan. Not only does a payment plan make it easier for the defendant to afford to get out of jail, but it keeps them in contact and making an effort on behalf of their upcoming court or trial date. This protects not only the bonds company but also the defendant.
Brings Defendant In If They Miss Court
Finally, if the defendant still does not show up for their court date as promised, it is the responsibility of the bail bond company to find the defendant and personally take them to the court. If the bond agent does not do this, they must pay the full bond to the court and are out of that money for good.
This is why a bail bonds company will often hire a “bounty hunter” to get the defendant and bring them in on the bail bond agent’s behalf. Bounty hunters are often former law enforcement officers or people with the skills to track down and find a fugitive on the run. Again, this is another part of a bail bonds agency’s value to the justice system. They help keep defendants showing up and things running smoothly.
I want to wrap things up by bringing this article full circle. As you can see, there is a very colossal service that a bail bonds company provides not only to their clients but also to society in general. A bail service allows more defendants to be home with their families so they can prepare for their upcoming court date, but at the same time saves taxpayers a considerable amount of money by getting a higher percentage of defendants to trial when they are supposed to.
If people are concerned that the very poor can’t afford bail, there is one change to our current laws that would make this fairer. The first is to lower the bail amounts to first-time non-offenders and those with nonviolent histories charged with nonviolent crimes. A balance has to be struck between having the bond large enough that there is sufficient incentive for people to show up for court and affordability.
A bail bond agent typically does not bail out the worst of the worst, anyway. They deal with mostly non-violent crimes. But keeping a system that allows bail bond companies to stay in business keeps our streets safer. It saves taxpayers a lot of money caused by rescheduling court dates and having law enforcement officers track the missing defendants down.