An Overview Of How Bail Works

Bail is often a required step for being released from jail. However, it’s not always clear to everyone how and why it works as it does. Here’s an overview so you can understand the process of posting bail, and where bail bonds come into action.


If you are sent to jail you cannot be released from custody until the authorities are sure that you are not a flight risk and you will go to court when you are required to. In part, you need to show that there is a reason for you to stay in the area; for example, maybe you have children or other family members in town. Once the court is satisfied, they will let you go after you sign a paper stating that you will stay out of trouble and attend all of your court sessions.

In some cases, defendants will be required to pay bail in order to get released. Bail is money that you give to the court to show them that you intend to come back when you are supposed to. If you don’t show up, that money is forfeited. After you pay cash to the court, you can get out of jail. However, you have to come back when you are supposed to or the court gets your money. Depending on how bad the crime was, and the court’s confidence as to whether or not you will come back when you are supposed to, the amount of bail could be very high.

In some cases, a defendant may not have the money necessary to pay bail. In these instances, a bail bond is acceptable. The way it works is simple; an insurance company states that they will pay for the bail if the defendant does not attend the required court hearings. There is a fee for this service, of course. The insurance company charges a certain percentage of the overall total; so if bond is set at $20,000, the insurance company may charge 10 percent of that, or $2000, as its fee to put up the bond. There must be a guarantor who signs for the bond as well; this person must pay the money for the bail if the defendant does not attend court hearings.This is a picture of a gavel which is used in court cases. When posting bail the courts are always involved to some extent.

If the defendant goes to court when he is supposed to, the bond stays with the court and the insurance company pockets its fee. If the defendant does not go to court when he is supposed to, the insurance company loses their money for the bond and has to go after the guarantor to get the money. In some cases, the insurance company may search for the defendant to make sure he goes to court. In that case, they get their money back.

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