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Court-Mandated Bail Bonds: What You Need to Know

Arrested for a crime-now what? In most cases, the courts will review your case and grant bail. Bail is collateral deposited to the courts to release a suspect from jail. The collateral-whether it be property, cash, or other items of monetary value-is returned to you when you appear in court. There are five types of common bail bonds used in the United States. Learn more about your court-ordered bond type below.

Bail Bond

Also known as a surety bond, this type of bond is most commonly used when the accused can’t afford to pay the full amount of the bail. In this situation, the accused will have a family member or friend contact a bail bondsman who will then post the bail. A bondsman pays the full amount of the bail and pledges that the accused will return to court for his or her scheduled appearance. Bail bonds companies can pay enormous bail amounts because they are backed by insurance. In return for posting bail, regardless of the amount, bondsmen charge a very small percentage of the bail amount, which the accused pays in return for the bondsman’s services. As with all other bail sorts, the courts grant this type of bail on the condition that the accused appear in court. It’s a good term to set-after all, the accused or a loved one is paying the bondsman’s premium and has collateral on the line. If the accused chooses not to appear in court, the bondsman pays the bail amount in full. However, if the accused skips bail, he or she may face serious consequences. Police officers and bounty hunters can become involved, and the accused could return back to jail with a much longer sentence. Choose a bail bondsman who works for a reputable bonds company and who has experience working with attorneys, court officials, and judges. A professional bondsman can provide you with trustworthy service and a flexible payment plan.

Citation Release

Remember being pulled over for your first traffic violation? The police officer probably asked if you knew that you were speeding, checked your driving record, handed you a ticket, and reminded you to slow down. That ticket was a citation asking you to appear in court and pay a fine. Bail citations work similarly. If someone receives a citation after he or she has been accused of a crime, that person may not spend any time in jail at all. Instead, jail staff give the accused a citation reminding him or her to appear in court by a certain date. This type of bail allows a police officer to arrest and then release the person immediately. It is usually issued for minor infractions and allows police officers to spend their time fighting more serious crimes.

Cash Bail

Occasionally, the courts will set a cash amount that the accused must pay before being released from jail. This bail bond is usually granted when the courts feel that the accused is a flight risk. Because of this risk, the cash amount is usually so high that the accused cannot pay it. Of course, if the accused does pay the cash bail and returns to court at the appointed date, the cash is returned to him or her, usually within 90 days. If the accused skips bail after paying the cash amount, the money is forfeited entirely to the court. Some courts now accept checks and even credit cards for the payment of a cash bail bond.

Property Bond

Similar to cash bail, property bonds allow the accused (or a third party) to surrender property as collateral for bail. The property must usually be worth twice as much as the bail amount, but any kind of property can be used as long as the person using it for collateral has full ownership. As with cash bail, all property is returned to the owner after the accused appears in court. House deeds and cars are just two examples of property used as collateral in a property bond.

Personal Recognizance Release

Under certain circumstances, the court will allow the accused to leave jail without providing collateral at all. Instead, the accused gives his or her word to appear in court or meets other court-specified criteria. Of course, this type of release is reserved only for eligible offenders, such as those who have committed non-violent crimes or first-time offenders. Personal recognizance release, like other bond types, is granted at the discretion of the court.   While the courts grant bail fairly regularly, there are exceptions. For example, if you’ve been accused of an extremely serious crime, have a lengthy criminal record, or seem unlikely to return to court at the appointed time, the court may not grant bail at all. To learn more about bail types or to get help posting your bail, contact your local bondsman immediately. Your bondsman can help you find collateral and post bail before your trial or hearing. Call now.