Under normal circumstances, when someone is arrested on suspicion of a criminal act, they go to jail for booking. At this point, they may be eligible to post bail, the amount of which depends on the degree of the crime and the judge’s ruling. Once the final amount is set, the alleged criminal has the option to hire a bail bondsman, or bonding agency to help with the release. This is very common, as most of the time the defendant does not have the funds to pay a normal note up front.
These bonds, commonly referred to as surety bonds, differ from state to state. Each state does have its own laws and a typical fee depends on the charges being filed and the judge who is in charge of the case. All of these laws govern the entire process from the time someone is arrested until they are required to appear in court. If you or someone you know is facing criminal charges, you should start by having a consultation with a professional agent. Most licensed bail bondsman has the skills and knowledge to get most people out of jail quickly and safely.
Whether you sign for your own bail or you are required to have a cosigner, there are a lot of responsibilities that come with any bond. Bail bonds are like insurance policies. Most agencies are able to get anyone out for much less than the actual cost as long as they guarantee that the defendant promises to follow through on all legal requirements and court dates. If the defendant does not appear as promised, the entire amount has to be forfeited to the state. This is why there is a fee to use a bondsman. The agency is taking a risk with their own money when they bail someone out for less than the actual bond. If someone gets bailed out and then decides to skip future court dates and legal obligations, chances are that they will be re-arrested and slapped with a failure to appear-bond.
A failure-to-appear bond is exactly what it sounds like. This is something that a judge will order when someone who it was released does not fulfill all legal obligations. If a person is arrested and then let out of jail for posting bond, they are legally required to appear at court and other hearings. If that person decides to skip any one of these mandatory dates, the judge will then sign a re-arrest order and set a new bail amount. If this happens, it is imperative that a professional agency is used as the bail amount is typically higher than the initial bond and will be much harder to post without a lot of collateral.
If you, your friend or a loved one gets arrested and then decides to skip court, they will more than likely be re-arrested with an FTA. If this happens and that person needs a cosigner to get out, here are a few things to note. It is the cosigner’s responsibility to make sure the defendant meets all requirements. This means that whoever vouches for the defendant takes on all financial obligations and may lose some or all of the collateral if subsequent court dates or hearings are missed. Once the defendant is bailed out, if that person cannot be located, the indemnitor is then solely responsible to pay for the entire bail amount that was originally set by the court. This is why it is important to make sure the defendant fulfills all legal obligations after being bailed out, especially if you cosign for them!