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The bail bond process
When someone is arrested by a law enforcement agency, they are transported to a jail and booked. The jail fingerprints, photographs, and completes required administrative forms. The person is detained until a judge magistrates them, within 24-hours, and sets a bond amount. The bond amount is determined by the judge based on the severity or classification of the alleged crime.
After a bond is set, an approved bail bond company is required to provide the jail with a surety bond. The bail bond company provides the jail with a notarized form that assures financial responsibility of the bond amount for the defendant. It takes a few minutes to complete the application and indemnity forms before the surety bond is submitted to the jail.
How do you pay the bail bondsman?
The bond company charges a fee to process the forms and assure that the defendant is apprised of any court dates. The fee can be paid with cash, check, money order, or credit card. Typically, the fee is between 10% - 15% and is non-refundable. The fee can be provided by a family member or any person who wishes to take financial liability of the bond amount.
Who is liable for the defendant?
The bond company evaluates the financial stability of person who wishes to co-sign for the defendant. The co-signer and the bond company are financially liable for the defendant. The worst-case scenario is the defendant fails to appear in court. When this happens, the prosecuting body of the designated court will file forfeiture documents to sue the bond company whereby the bond company will sue the co-signer for the bond amount and any related legal expenses. The best-case scenario is the defendant remains in contact with the bond company and appears on scheduled court dates. When the case is finalized by the presiding judge, the co-signer and bond company are no longer responsible for the bond amount.