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A Beginner’s Guide to Bail and Bondsmen in Minnesota

A man in need of a bail bondsman.

If you have you found yourself in trouble with the law for the first time, you may feel bewildered, frightened, and desperate to get out of jail. Depending on the seriousness of the crime you’ve allegedly committed, you may be required to post bail before you’re able to go home.

Bail amounts vary, but they can run into hundreds of thousands of dollars for serious criminal charges. Whatever the amount, if you can’t afford to pay it, then you’ll be stuck in jail until your bail is paid or you face trial in court.

If you can’t afford bail, then you may need to seek out the service of a bail bondsman. You may know a little about this subject, most of which may have been garnered from TV shows or movies, or you may know next to nothing, especially if this is your first brush with the law.

Here is a beginner’s guide to bail and bondsmen, which will help you to make it through the bail process with the least amount of stress.

What Is the Process of Arrest and Release on Bail?

An individual suspected of committing a crime will be arrested and booked for that crime. Being arrested involves having your mugshot taken and your fingerprints recorded and providing a statement to police.

After the arrest, the accused will either go to jail or be released on bail. This is determined by a judge in an initial hearing. If bail is granted, the judge will decide the terms and conditions of the bail, including the cost of bail. Under certain circumstances, bail may be denied, usually if the defendant is found to be a hazard to society or at risk of fleeing.

Essentially, bail is a cash payment paid by the perpetrator to the court as a security to ensure they will return to face charges in court. If you are released on bail, the court holds the bail money until your trial has finished.

What Happens if I Can’t Afford the Bail Amount?

Like many individuals, you may not be able to afford the expensive cost of bail. You can submit a request for a bond order to be granted by the judge. The bond is provided by your nominated bondsman. A bondsman is an industry professional who acts as an individual or an agent for a bail bond company.

A bond is the bondsman’s agreement to pay the bail to the court if you don’t appear in court as ordered or fail to meet the bail conditions. Once the bond has been provided, you’ll be free to leave jail. As a defendant, you are responsible for contacting a bondsman to organize your bond.

What Does a Bail Bondsman Get Out of Paying My Bond?

Bonds are generally far less expensive than bail, and bondsmen have insurance to cover lost bonds. You’ll generally be charged 10% of the total bond, which serves as a fee for the bondsman’s services.

Often, you will also be required to provide some type of collateral. Collateral can include a car, a house, or other property that is of substantial value. If you have no collateral of your own, you may need a co-signer for the bond. This can be a friend or family member who is prepared to use their property to secure your release from jail.

If you fail to make your court appearance the bondsman will need to pay the court the full bond.  They may seize the items listed as collateral from you or your co-signer. The sale of these goods will help them recoup the money they have paid to the court.

What If I Miss the Court Date or Break Bail Conditions?

As well as being forced to pay the bond, the court can also hold a bail bondsman accountable if you fail to attend court. Therefore, the bondsman has a vested financial and professional interest in ensuring that you make it to court.

Technically, you are released from jail into the bondsman’s custody. They will keep track of you in the lead up to your trial and make sure you are meeting the bail conditions. If your bondsman is unable to locate you, they may hire a bounty hunter to find you and bring you back for the trial.

Clearly, the ideal scenario is to avoid trouble with the law and finding yourself under arrest. However, if you have found yourself in a precarious legal situation, then contacting a bail bondsman should be a top priority to ensure your speedy release from jail.

Absolute Bail Bonds has numerous agents acting as bondsmen in Minnesota, as well as North Dakota. They provide a fast and discreet service and can come to your aid at any time of the day or night. Once you’ve contacted them, a bondsman will immediately begin the process of releasing you from jail.