Many times the process is overwhelming. Here are some answers to the questions that you might have. Please feel free to call us if you don’t see your question answered here.
What is bail or a bail bond?
Bail is used by our legal system to secure the release of someone who has been arrested and is awaiting trial. A defendants bail amount is set by the court and usually the amount is based on the severity of the crime that the defendant is accused of committing. In order to be released from jail, the bail must be paid either in a cash payment or by way of a bond. Bail is used to guarantee that the person appears in court. Bail amounts may be more money than the defendant can afford to put up in cash, in which case a bail bondsman may be able to supply a bond in order to get the person released from jail.
How does a bail bond work?
A court will set the amount needed to secure release from jail. When a defendant uses a bondsman or a bond service, the bond service is able to get the defendant released from jail by guaranteeing the payment of the entire bail amount if the defendant does not show up to court.
Bail bond services are licensed providers and charge a fee for securing a defendants release. The fee is typically a percentage of the total bail amount, most often set to 10% of the bail amount. So if your total bail is $10,000, the bail bond fee may be $1000. The bail bond fee is non-refundable, even after the trial, and serves as the service charge for the bail bond services.
What is a co-signer or a guarantor?
A co-signer/guarantor is someone willing to take responsibility for the defendant while they are awaiting trial. The co-signer also assumes financial responsibility for the bail amount and may be asked to pay the full bail amount if the defendant the co-signed for decides to flea.
What does bail bond is exoneration mean?
After the trial and/or legal proceedings are completely finished, a bail bond is exonerated. The outcome of the trial or case does not make a difference. The defendant may be found guilty, innocent or the charges may have been dismissed. Regardless of the outcome, the bail bond becomes discharged. Exoneration does not mean that any payments that have not been paid to the bondsman are discharged as well. Unpaid fees, existing payments or any other money owed to the bail bond company must still be repaid.
What is a forfeiture and reinstatement?
A forfeiture happens when a defendant fails to appear in court. If a person out on bond fails to show up in court or misses their obligations to the court, a bench warrant may be issued for their arrest. Sometimes, it may be possible to reinstate the bond if the defendant follows the proper procedures to work with their bondsman and the court. If a bond is reinstated, the defendant will usually have a new court date set that they will need to appear at or risk forfeiture again. If a forfeiture occurs and the defendant qualifies for reinstatement, additional fees may be incurred that will be added to the defendant’s previous balance.
What is a reinstatement?
This is a process by which a defendant who has failed to appear in court can have their bench warrant removed and the bail bond re-activated or “reinstated” with the court. The defendant, working with Aladdin, will report back to the court which allows the court to set a new court date for the defendant. This proceeding may result in additional fees to the defendant/co-signer.