If you've never had any experience with the court system and have never been arrested, it can be scary to find yourself behind bars for DUI, assault, theft or other crime. It's equally scary for the people who care about. All you and they can think about is getting you out of jail and back home again. That's where bail comes in.
What is bail?
Bail is a process by which a person charged with a crime can be released pending his or her trial. The bail is the guarantee that the person will return to the court on the assigned date to face the judge. Bail is available for all but the most serious crimes, such as rape and first degree murder. In some cases, a person will be released on their own recognizance, that is without having to pay anything to the court. The more serious the charges, the higher the bail will be.
After a person is arrested, they are arraigned before a judge. This usually happens the next business day after the arrest. (Note: weekends and holidays can delay that initial court appearance.) If the judge feels there is enough evidence to pursue a court case, then he will set a court date and set bail. Only then (and only after the bail has been paid) can the person in jail be released. If the person returns to court on the appointed day, the bail money will be refunded to whomever paid it. If the person fails to show up for court, the money is forfeited.
How bail bonds work
Although an increasing number of U.S. courts now allow just 10 percent of the total bail to be paid in order for a person arrested to be released, the majority of courts still require the entire bail amount. That's where a bail bonds company can help. Bail bonds companies require just 10 percent of the total bail amount. The bail company puts up the rest. When the person shows up for court, the company gets the money back and they get to keep the 10 percent for their efforts. However, if the person fails to show up for court, the person who contracted with the bail bonds company will owe them the extra 90 percent. In cases of high bail amounts, the company may require security, such as a lien on property or jewelry.
Working with a bail bonds company (such as Regional Bonding Company) makes it easier for families and friends of people arrested to be able to make bail and get that person out of jail. However, like any financial transaction, it shouldn't be entered into lightly as you could end up owing a lot of money to the bail bonds company if the person arrested skips town.
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