The Bail Bonds Process

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What is a bail bond?

A bail bond is the document that is presented to the court to secure the release of a defendant who is in custody, and to ensure the appearance of the defendant at all required court hearings.

How does a bail bond work?

When a person is arrested, he/she is sent to jail. It takes several hours to be booked into the jail system. The defendant is fingerprinted to determine their identity and whether there are any outstanding warrants.

Typically, a bail amount is set by the local court jurisdiction following the arrest of a defendant. A family member, a close friend, or sometimes the defendant will contact a bail agent to arrange for the posting of the bail bond. The family member or friend that is guaranteeing the bond, also known as the indemnitor or co-signer, will complete paperwork and pay the premium, which is a percentage of the bond amount. In the State of Florida, premium is set at %10 on any bond over $1000 and a minimum of $100 premium on any bond under $1000. By signing the paperwork, the indemnitor is guaranteeing that he or she will pay the full amount of the bond if the defendant fails to appear in court. Typically, collateral is taken from the indemnitor to secure the guarantee.

Who is an indemnitor/guarantor?

An indemnitor/guarantor is an individual, usually a friend or family member of the defendant, who agrees to indemnify the bail bond agent against a loss.

How does the collateral process work?

Sometimes the bail bonds agent will require collateral to secure the guarantee of the bond and ensure the defendant’s appearance in court. Collateral is anything of value that is pledged to secure the bond, such as cash, property, jewelry, etc. Upon complete resolution of the defendant’s case and payment of all premiums in full, the collateral is returned to the indemnitor.

When do I get my collateral back?

In most cases, collateral is returned to the person who pledged it upon discharge or exoneration of the bail bond.

How long does it take to be released from jail?

Once a bail agent has been contacted, it usually takes less than an hour for the paperwork to be completed. However, release times vary from jail to jail and state to state. It could take as little as thirty minutes or as long as forty-eight hours to be released from jail.

What happens if a defendant fails to appear in court?

If a defendant fails to appear in court, the court issues a bench warrant for that person’s arrest and they are considered a fugitive. Generally, the bail agency is authorized by the court to arrest the individual.