If you wish to learn more about bail bonds, how they all work, and your options, you can call or email us anytime! We have included some frequently asked questions below if you need additional information.
If you read my guide to bail bonds and still have some more questions, hopefully, this FAQ page will help. If there’s anything you think I forgot to cover, feel free to drop me a line using the contact page.
WHAT IS THE COST OF A BAIL BOND POSTED BY A BONDING AGENT?
The bonding agent may charge up to 15% of the bond amount. For example, if your bond amount is $1,000, the bonding agent may charge you a fee (“premium”) of up to $150 plus actual filing fees the jail charges.
HOW MUCH COLLATERAL CAN THE BONDING AGENT TAKE?
There is no limit. A bonding agent may take whatever collateral is believed necessary to cover the bond. The bonding agent may only keep the collateral value necessary to pay the defaulted bond, costs, and bounty hunting fees. The balance of the collateral must be returned.
How does the court determine the bail amount?
Most jurisdictions have bail guidelines that are used to determine bail. Judge’s have considerable leeway when determining bail and take several factors under consideration, such as the seriousness of the offense, whether or not the defendant has ties to the area, and their criminal background. If the judge believes there’s a chance the defendant will flee, they may deny bail.
Why would a judge deny bail?
A judge might deny bail for a few reasons. First, if the defendant has a criminal history, the judge may decide they should stay in jail. Second, if they have no ties to the community, like family or a full-time job, the judge may be concerned the defendant will flee and skip bail. Third, the judge may rule that the severity of the crime warrants keeping the defendant behind bars.
WHAT ARE “BOND CONDITIONS”?
The defendant must also agree to meet specific requirements known as “conditions.” The most important condition is that the defendant appears at all hearings. Failure to appear may result in arrest and forfeiture of the bond amount. “Failure to Appear” is a separate criminal offense that can result in imprisonment from 6 months to 1 year and the loss of eligibility for probation or a suspended sentence. Other standard conditions prohibit the defendant from committing a crime or leaving Colorado while released on bail. The defendant must acknowledge the existence of a mandatory restraining order that prohibits contact with witnesses or the alleged victim. Defendants are commonly required to immediately notify the court of any residence or mailing address change.
How can I convince the judge to reduce bail?
In addition to the bail guidelines, a judge considers the seriousness of the defendant’s crime and the likelihood they’ll flee when determining bail. While there’s no guaranteed way to reduce the bail amount, showing the judge that you have ties to the community is the best way to get bail reduced. This can be accomplished by having family and friends attend the bail hearing to vouch for the defendant.
Do need to hire an attorney to represent me during the bail hearing?
An attorney is not required for a bail hearing, but some defendants prefer to have one present. An attorney may be able to make a case for reduced bail, but the judge has complete control when it comes to setting the amount.
How long does it take to set bail?
Bail is usually set by a judge within 48 hours of arrest. For some low-level crimes, the sheriff may be able to set bail when the defendant is booked and allow them to post bail immediately.
What if I miss a court date after posting bail?
If you miss a court date, bail will be revoked, and you will forfeit the entire amount. In addition, a warrant will be issued for your arrest.
What if I can’t afford bail?
If you and your family can’t afford bail, you can get a bail bond through a bail agent. A bondsman will charge you a fee, generally 10-20% of the bail amount, and will provide the court with the remaining cash in the form of a bond to get the defendant out of jail. You will need to give a collateral asset like a deed to your house or car, which will go to the bail agent if the defendant misses a court appearance and bail is forfeited.
Can I post bail without getting a bail bond?
Yes, you can pay the entire bail amount in cash if available. Most people use bail bonds because they don’t have the funds available.
How much do they cost?
Bail bonds cost 10-20% of the bail amount, known as the bond premium. The amount of the premium varies by state and bail agency. In addition to the premium, you will need to provide collateral to make up for the difference between the bail amount and the cost of the premium. So, for example, if bail is set at $20,000 and the bail agent charges a 15% premium, you’ll need to pay $3,500 for the bond. You will also need to provide collateral for $16,500. This could be a deed to a house, car, jewelry, or other valuables. The agent may also charge additional flat fees on top of the premium.
What if I don’t have enough cash for the bail premium?
Many bond agents offer payment plans that make it easier for afford the bond premium. You’ll pay less upfront but more in the long run because they will charge you interest on the premium.
Do I need a cosigner/guarantor to get a bail bond?
Every bondsperson has different criteria when issuing a bond. Most prefer defendants to have a cosigner or guarantor to dissuade them from jumping bail. You may be able to forgo having a cosigner in exchange for paying a higher premium.
The bail premium is non-refundable and will not be returned even if the defendant attends all their hearings and is acquitted. Does a bail agent need to be licensed?
The state Department of Insurance should license a bail agent. Always ask a bondsperson to show you their license before signing a contract.
Can I get a bail bond for someone who lives in another state?
Yes, they’re known as transfer bonds. A bond is purchased through a local bondsman who transfers it to a bail agent for which the bond is needed.
How do I get my bail money back?
If you posted bail without getting a bond, you would receive the entire amount back after the trial is finished as long as the defendant attended all scheduled court hearings. The whole amount will be returned even if they are convicted. What if I jump bail?
If a defendant missed a scheduled hearing, they will be in violation of their bail and will immediately forfeit any money they paid for bail. In addition, a warrant will be issued for their arrest. The bail agent may use a bounty hunter to track the defendant down and return them to jail.
What happens if I’m convicted?
Regardless of whether or not you’re convicted, as long as you attend all scheduled hearings, your bail will be returned when the trial is complete.
When is bail revoked?
When bail is issued, it usually comes with certain restrictions. These commonly include requiring the defendant to attend all their hearings, they cannot be arrested for another crime, cannot consume alcohol or drugs, etc. If the defendant violates any of these provisions, the judge can revoke bail, and the defendant will return to jail and forfeit the entire bail amount.
WHAT SHOULD I DO IF I MISS A COURT APPEARANCE DATE?
It would be best if you acted quickly. Contact the agent immediately if you posted a bond with a bail bonding agent. The bail bonding agent may provide you with a “consent of surety.” You must take the consent of surety to the court clerk and ask for a new court date. If you did not post a bond through a bonding agent, go to the court clerk as soon as possible and make arrangements for a new court date. In either case, a warrant was probably issued for your arrest for failure to appear.
Can I get my bail money back if I change my mind?
If you change your mind about posting bail to get someone out of prison, you have two options. First, the defendant can surrender and return to jail, at which point you can petition the court to get your bail money back. Or second, either the defendant or another party can pay the full bail amount, at which point your payment will be refunded.
What is a reinstatement?
Reinstatement is the process in which the court reinstates bail that had previously been revoked. Bail is no longer forfeited when this happens, although some fees may be required to process the reinstatement. Additionally, the warrant issued after bail was revoked will be dismissed.
How does a surety bond differ from a bail bond?
They are the same thing. Both are backed by an insurance company that agrees to pay a defendant’s bail in exchange for a premium. Read more about Surety bonds
WHAT IS A CONSENT OF SURETY?
A “consent of surety” is a written document you get from your bail bonding agent. Bail bonding agents are not required to give you consent of surety. (If you cannot get the consent of surety, you may be required to post a new bond.) You may need the consent of surety for Bond Reinstatement. If you have failed to appear in court when required, the bond may be void unless you obtain consent. Bond Continuance. If you are convicted, plead guilty, nolo contendere, or there is an order of deferred prosecution or judgment, your bond will automatically expire unless you obtain the consent of surety for the appearance bond to continue until your sentencing date. Permission to leave the state. With the court’s consent, consent of surety is required for you to leave the state while released on bond.
What is a personal recognizance bond?
When a defendant is released on their own recognizance, the court does not consider them a flight risk and releases them from prison without setting bail.
What is the Bail Process and How Do We Get Started?
The first thing that will happen is that we will have you come to one of our offices and fill out the necessary paperwork. You will agree to pay the reduced bond amount we pre-negotiated with the court. Then, one of our agents will go post the bond at the jail. After the defendant is released, he/she would need to come back to our office to fill out their portion of the paperwork.
What if I Can’t Afford to Pay The Entire Amount Upfront?
That’s not a problem! We will collect some additional information to help you qualify to finance the bond. This way, you can pay it off over time.
Do I Get That Money Back?
No, the fee that we charge is our premium and will not be returned. We can reduce the bond set by the court by up to 90% sometimes, so we collect a fee for providing this service.
What is My Responsibility as the Cosigner?
As the cosigner, you are responsible to ensure that the defendant makes every court date. If the defendant is on a payment plan and misses a payment, you may be required to pay the entire balance or fork over any collateral.
What Is Collateral?
Collateral is something that we may ask for to secure the bond. This ensures that the premium will be paid in full and that the defendant will not skip court or leave town. Some things that could be used for collateral are cash, jewelry, vehicles, homes, and much more.
Will I Get My Collateral Back?
Once the case is closed and the defendant fulfills all contractual obligations, your collateral will be returned to you.
Why Use a Bail Bondsmen Instead of Paying The Court?
You are not required to pay the entire bond amount when using a bondsman. For example, if the bond is $10,000 and you want to pay the court, you will be required to pay the entire $10,000. In most cases, you will not get that money back. They will use that for court costs, fees, fines, and other expenses. With a bondsman, you are only required to pay a small percentage of the $10,000, which is called the “premium”.
IF THE COURT DISMISSED THE CHARGES, CAN I GET MY MONEY BACK?
Maybe. If the charges are dismissed within ten (10) working days, a court may, after a hearing, order a bail bonding agent to return some of the bond.
Yes. If you prefer to pay the premium upfront and not cosign the bond, you are more than welcome to do so.
Can You Help us Find an Attorney?
Absolutely! One of our additional FREE services is to help you find legal counsel to help before, during, and after!
IMPORTANT REMINDERS: Read all agreements carefully before you sign. If you don’t understand something, ask for an explanation. Always get a receipt. Get copies of important documents. THIS FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS SECTION IS NOT Legal advice that can only be provided by an attorney. Do not rely upon this publication for legal advice. Court clerks, sheriffs, police officers, and bail agents are not authorized to give legal advice. If you require legal advice, you should contact an attorney.