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What Is Bail Bonding?

People who are arrested may utilize a bail bond agency to post their bail.
A bail bond company.
Bail bonds sign.
Article Details
  • Written By: Alicia Sparks
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Images By: Ammentorp, Daniel Oines, Ken Teegardin
  • Last Modified Date: 08 October 2014
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Bail bonding is the business of helping an arrested individual pay the bail set by the court. At some point after a person is arrested, his judge will or will not set a bail based on a variety of factors. If the judge sets a bail, and it is too expensive for the person to pay on his own, he can seek help from a bail bonding agency. The agency will pay the court the arrested individual’s bail, and the arrested individual will pay the agency a percentage of that bail. Typically, the court will refund the agency after the individual’s case is determined, but the percentage the individual pays to the agency is nonrefundable.

Normally, a judge will set a bail for a person who has been arrested. Of course, this depends on the crime, the arrested individual, and the judge. For example, a judge might decide to avoid setting a bail for an individual who is accused of committing an extremely serious crime such as murder or arson, or for an individual who is considered a flight risk or has a lengthy criminal history. If the judge does set bail, the individual can pay the bail money out of his own pocket or he can seek the services of a bail bonding agency. Since bail is often expensive, many people contact bail bondsmen.

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Bail bonding agencies exist to help individuals who have been arrested post bond and avoid spending time in jail while they await a hearing or trial. As such, it is common for bail bonding companies to post their contact information in areas where recently arrested people are likely to find it. Common places include police stations, jails, and court buildings. If a bail bondsman agrees to help the arrested person, he will pay the person’s bail on behalf of the bail bonding agency and the arrested individual will pay the agency a nonrefundable percentage of his original bail, which is 10% in most cases. In this instance, a person whose bail is set at $50,000 US Dollars (USD) would pay his bail bondsman $5,000 USD.

When a bail bonding agency posts an individual’s bail money, the bondsman will explain certain terms and conditions to the individual. These terms and conditions can vary by location and even by agency, but they typically include staying within the area and checking in with the bondsman at predetermined times. If the arrested individual fails to show up for his hearing or trial, or otherwise breaks any conditions of his bail bond, he is said to have “jumped bail” or “jumped bond.” He can face severe consequences when this happens. Depending on the bail bonding agency and the individual, these consequences can include a revoked bond, jail time, and repayment of the original bail.

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