What is the Bail Process?
When someone is accused of committing a crime they are taken to jail to await their opportunity to post bail. The accused can pay the premium and post bail, or call a friend or family member to call a bondsman. The bondsman works with the friend or relative and makes arrangements to get the accused out of jail. The friend or relative acts as a cosigner for the accused, as a way of holding them responsible for the accused to appear at all court dates until the case is closed. A cosigner will pay a small percentage of the bail amount and provide collateral for the remaining balance such as a car, deed to a house, or jewelry. When the case is closed, the collateral is returned.
Who determines the bail amount? How is bail determined?
Depending on the offense, the bail is either preset or determined by a judge. If the offense is a misdemeanor then the amount is preset, and the accused has the opportunity to post bail. If the offense is a felony, a judge sets the bail amount during a bail hearing. When setting bail, the judge must take certain factors into consideration, the accused’s previous record and previous crimes committed, the severity of the crime committed and affect on the community, income or employment, and the accused’s family.
What happens if you miss a court appearance?
Should the accused flee or miss a court date without notification, the cosigner who allegedly signed for the accused is held financially responsible to pay the remaining bail amount or surrender property held as collateral to the bond company.
What information do I need to provide the bondsman?
The bondsman will need to know the following to get the accused out of jail.
- The name of the accused
- The city, state, and name of Jail they are in
- Their booking number
- What they were charged with
- And any other information that may be helpful