FAQs

 
 

Question: Who Sets Bail Amounts?

Answer: A judge or magistrate normally sets the Bail amount for a particular case according to a county Bail Schedule and the particulars of a case. The Bail Schedule itself is usually set annually by a majority vote of superior, municipal, and other judges.

In setting or denying bail, the judge or magistrate's first concern is the protection of the public, followed by the seriousness of the offense and previous criminal record. Further, the Judge must be convinced that no part of the Bail was feloniously obtained.

Question: Who May Accept Bail?

Answer: In most jurisdictions, a judge, a bail clerk, a court clerk, a magistrate, or a designated jailer can accept Bail. Note. That this usually does not include the arresting officer.

Question: What are occasions When Bail May be Granted?

Answer: Bail is normally granted when:•A person is arrested for a bailable offense, prior to appearance before the magistrate or other arraignment.

•A person is arrested for a bailable offense, following formal indictment or charges

•A person convicted of an offense but awaiting sentencing (when the sentence is likely to be modest)

•A person convicted of an offense but making an application for probation.

•A person convicted of an offense making an appeal (usually only after certification that the person is not a flight risk, faces a modest sentence, is not a threat to the community, and has a good court appearance record).

*Note: also that most jurisdictions will not grant Bail for capital crimes or violent felonies without the defendant first attending a hearing for which the prosecuting attorney is granted time to prepare (often 2 court days). A defendant charged with a crime punishable by death usually cannot be granted Bail if the proof of his guilt is evident or the presumption thereof great.

Question: What is a Citation Release?

Answer: This procedure involves the issuance of a citation by the arresting officer to the arrestee, informing the arrestee that he or she must appear at an appointed court date. Cite Outs usually occur immediately after an individual is arrested and no financial security is taken.

Question: What is Release on Own Recognizance?

Answer: Own Recognizance constitutes an administrative pre-trial release. Usually court administrators or judges interview individuals in custody and make recommendations to the court regarding release on ROR (i.e. without any financial security to insure the appearance).

Question: What is a Cash Bond?

Answer: Cash Bond requires an individual to post the total amount of the Bail (not just 10%) in cash. The court holds this money until the case is concluded. If the defendant does not appear as instructed, the cash bond is forfeited and a bench warrant is issued. In this case, the defendant may be his or her own guarantor.Note that recent federal laws restrict cash bails in cases involving narcotics. In these cases, all cash or assets used to secure a Cash Bond or Surety Bond must be proven to have not originated from narcotics trafficking before bail is granted.

Question: What is a Surety Bond (common Bail Bond)?

Answer: The Surety Bond is a series of contracts which guarantee the defendant's appearance in court. When a professional Bail Bond Agency guarantees that appearance, it is called a Surety Bond and the Bond Agency is fully liable if the defendant does not appear through an insurance company, called the Surety. In turn, the Bond Agency charges a Premium for this service and often requires collateral from a guarantor. The guarantor generally knows the defendant and is guaranteeing appearance in court. Ironically, while a defendant who fails to appear in court is subject to additional charges, he or she is not normally liable for any bond forfeitures (unless the guarantor arranges such an agreement with the defendant).

Question: What is a Property Bond?

Answer: In rare cases and a few jurisdictions, an individual may obtain release from custody by means of posting a Property Bond with the court. The court records a lien (or right) on the property to secure the bail amount. If the defendant fails to appear, the court may institute foreclosure proceedings against the property. Often, the equity of the property must be twice the amount of the bail set.

Question: How long does it take to get out on Bail?

Answer: The paperwork takes approximately 15-30 minutes. The release time after the jail receives our paperwork is generally one hour or less for local police stations and 3-12 hours for county jails. Generally speaking, the busier the holding facility, the longer it takes.

Question: What is and isn't good Collateral?

Answer: Anything which you own and has significant resale value is good collateral.A house on which you pay a mortgage is considered good collateral up to the difference between its value and the amount you still owe on the mortgage. Note that except for a house, items which you have bought on credit and are making payments are not usually collateral unless you hold the title (a.k.a. pink slip). For example, a car on which you have a loan in which the lender holds the title and you make payments is not collateral because lender has a lien on the vehicle.

You may keep possession of major collateral items (e.g. House, Boat, Cars, Motor Homes) as long as the Bail Agent holds the title (a.k.a. pink slip). Personal items of high value (e.g. jewelry, fire arms, computers, cameras, stereos) can be used as collateral but normally must be surrendered to the Bail Agent who will hold them in a safe or other secure place. These items are normally valued at their current resale value, not what you originally paid for them.

Question: When do I get my Collateral back?

Answer: Upon completion of the court case

Question: What happens if the person does not appear in court as promised?

Answer: A bench warrant is issued for the person's arrest and the person's name will appear in police bulletins as a fugitive. Although specifics vary depending on the jurisdiction, generally the court also authorizes the Bail Agency arrest authority for the individual as well.The Bail Agency normally calls the person's home, work, and other references to try to find the fugitive and convince them to appear. If these efforts are unsuccessful, the Agency may then search and employ apprehension specialists (a.k.a. Bounty Hunters) to arrest the fugitive.

From the perspective of someone who guaranteed the appearance by posting collateral, you want to convince the fugitive to surrender himself to the police or court as soon as possible. Normally, if the fugitive is returned before actual remittance to the state, you can usually get your collateral back. Also, judges tend to get more irritated the longer a fugitive stays at large.

If the fugitive does not surrender and cannot be found by the forfeiture date, the Bail Agency remits the entire bond to the court and proceeds with legal action to seize and liquidate your collateral. By law, the Bail Agency is required to refund any value received in excess of the Bail amount following liquidation.