How to Secure a Bail Bond
The question is, "How do I obtain a bail bond?" Answer: It's simple and it's quick - it may take only 30 minutes, at the most. We'll need some information from you, such as, what is your relation to the person in jail, how long have you lived in your current place of residence, and how long have you been at your present job? This gives us a good understanding of you - the potential signer for the defendant in jail.
Sometimes we may ask for collateral depending upon the bond amount, the security risk of the defendant and the financial strength of the signer. It's really very simple. Remember, bailing people out of jail is all we do!
FACT: A bondsman guarantees to the court that the person will appear to face his or her charge.
The Basic Structure of a Bond
There are two parts to a bond. The 10% fee, which is the fee charged to the customer and is based on the full bond amount of the bond. This can be paid with a credit card, check, cash or if necessary - we'll help you with a short term loan, if necessary.
Next, the full value of the bond needs to be collateralize. This can be accomplished without using your home as collateral, or come up with large amounts of cash, or pledge other assets. This is a signature bond, which means that no collateral is taken; we've based our decision on the merits of the bond and the financial strength of the signer.
To obtain a bond remember to talk straight, be realistic about your ability to pay, and understand the need to get that person to court, because you are accepting the full financial responsibility for them should they forfeit. Again, the total process may take only 30 minutes.
What Happens To The Person Who Just Got Arrested?
This question is frequently asked by those who, for the first time, are faced with helping a person get out of jail. First, the arrestee is taken to a holding facility and that person is 'booked in'. This booking process involves fingerprinting, the so-called mug-shot, and a search for outstanding warrants. The charges are confirmed, the bail amount set, and last, a court date and time is set before release. This process may take a few hours. If no outstanding warrants exist and this is not a capital crime (murder), the person is eligible for bail.
What is an O.R. or Release on Own Recognizance (ROR)?
Own Recognizance is an unsecured, government backed, release of a defendant on the promise the he/she will return to court at the appointed time and place. If he/ or she is eligible for an O.R. the review staff at the jail will assess each person on the following merits:
The type of alleged crime.
The immediate family's support (does family live in the community).
The defendant's past criminal history.
The defendant's job history, both current and present, within that community.
Each defendant must provide to the assessment team various people who can speak on their behalf and verify his/or her status in the community. Each person will be interviewed by phone. If an O.R. is granted there is no need for a bail bondsman; however, this does not dismiss the defendant from making all court appearances.
What About a Forfeiture?
This seems to be an area that most people don't fully understand. The action of forfeiture occurs when a person does not make the court appearance: a bench warrant for an arrest will be issued. Although, this incident can compromise the bail agreement, as well as the court's view of the defendant, it can be solved in most cases. We know things go wrong; such as, you've not found the right courtroom and the judge enters bench warrant against you, or you sleep-in and don't make your court appearance at all, and last, you've got the wrong date for your appearance. These mishaps can be corrected - if the bondsman wants to help. A reinstatement of your bond may be issued to the court by your bondsman, the forfeiture /bench warrant will be removed and a new court date determined. Please remember, if you miss your court date, CALL YOUR BONDSMAN!
What Does Exoneration Mean and When Am I Released?
Exoneration of charges is the full release of a person from his/her court obligation. This means the defendant has satisfied the court by making all appearances and has either been sentenced, assessed a fine or restitution established. The court sometimes notifies the bail company of the exoneration, many times the bail company asks the court for the exoneration, and often the indemnitor is aware of the exoneration before the bail company knows the outcome of the case. Once the exoneration occurs, the financial responsibility of both the bail company and the signer is completed. Any collateral held, any monies pledged, or any property recorded for the bond will be returned to the customer minus any fees accumulated by the bail company while the defendant was out on bail. This also applies if the monies and real estate were pledged directly to the courts.
Q. How long is a bond valid?
A. A bond is valid as long as the case lasts. If the case lasts for more than a year, but not more than 2 years, the bond company is entitled to another full premium (the 10% fee). The same bond continues until the case is completed.
Q. Is a bail bond company the only option available to get someone out of jail - what other options exist?
A. No. Here are three different approaches:
Pay the court / jail all cash. The court will refund all the money after the case is completed less any fees or outstanding fines due the court - you will be advised on these deductions
A US Treasury Bond is also recognized by some courts.
Real Property. The court will ask for an appraisal of the property and this may take some time to acquire and submit to the court.
Q. What's the difference between a public defender and /or an attorney - why use one over the other?
A. A public defender is appointed to a defendant who does not have the financial ability to retain an attorney - this is the basic difference.
Q. What about that myth, "Are you only allowed one call?"
A. California Penal Code 851.5 states that the arrested person has the right to make at least three free local telephone calls upon being booked: one call to an attorney, one to a bail bondsman, and one to a relative or other personal contact.