Frequently Asked Questions
Some of the more important, or steps to learn. Call us today!
There is certain information that a bail agent will need in order to help you:
- Where is the person in custody? Make sure that you ask the person in custody where they are located including the city, state, and the name of jail.
- What is the full name of the person in jail? The bail agent will need this information in order to contact the jail.
There are four ways in which a person may be released from custody.
- You can use a bondsman.
- You can post cash for the full amount of the bond with the court or jail.
- You can use property (such as a home or a lot) with the court.
- And lastly the judge can decide to let the defendant go on their own recognizance.
You do not get your premium back that you paid to the bonding office. This fee is what allowed the defendant to get out of jail and is fully earned once the defendant is out of custody. For example, if the defendant gets rearrested a week later you get no portion nor a refund of any money.
So, you have some valid concerns about whether the person you are considering bailing out will fail to appear at their court date. In the event of a skipped court appearance, the bail bond is said to be forfiture. Now you are at risk of losing all the money you put up to get your friend or family member out of jail. You are also at risk of losing the collateral you used to secure the bond, which could be your house, car or other possessions. There are a few options to remedy the issue.
The court will send a notice to the bail bond agency letting them know the accused has failed to appear at court and that the bond is now a forfeiture. There is a grace period to make things right. A bench warrant will be issued for their arrest.
Often, there will be a statutory period where you will be able to turn the defendant in to get your bond out of forfeiture status. This usually simply involves bringing the person who skipped their court date to the clerk of court’s office and getting a new court date or turning them back into the custody of the jail. Alternatively, if the person happens to be arrested pursuant to the bench warrant, then you may choose to bond this person out again. If the defendant goes back to jail on said bench warrant, the bond agent has the right to surrender the bond without your consent.
If the defendant has not gotten a new court date within the grace period the bond agent can more commonly known as a bounty hunter, to track down the defendant and return them to custody. This will have the same practical effect as if they were arrested pursuant to the bench warrant. Unfortunately, if all of the above fails, the cash or collateral you put up for your friend will be forfeited to the court and you will not see one penny returned or you could be sued by the bond company for the remainder of the bond amount, no matter the circumstances.
You will have to get permission from the bonding office in writing before attempting to do so. If the court has given you direct instructions not to leave the state or country you must then get permission from the bail agent and the court before leaving. Otherwise you are subject to arrest.
The rate that you pay a bail agent depends on the parish's statutes and regulations. For example, in some parishes, there are jails that charge the bond agent 13%, while the allowable premium is set at 10% for other parishes. If a company that agrees to discount their fee, they may lose their license. Some companies try and lead you into believing that you will receive a discount but in the end charge you the whole amount. Always ask to see a rate chart if you feel that you are being wrongly charged.
Like discounts, the general costs in your area depend on the parish's statutes and regulations. Bonding agents are generally licensed and regulated by the state. The guiding principle is that the premium rates are not to be "excessive, inadequate, or unfairly discriminatory."
The bail bond system arises out of common law. The posting money or property in exchange for temporary release pending a trial dates to 13th century England. The modern commercial practice of bail bonds has continued to evolve in the United States while it has since ceased to exist in most modern nation-states.