If you have a friend or relative who needs to post bail but doesn’t have the money required by a judge, then you can help by making arrangements with a bail bondsman while they are in jail. But though several bail bond companies are available out there, they are no all created equal.
Understanding the Bail Bondsman
A bail bond or surety bond, as it is sometimes called, is a type of bail paid to the courts by a bail bondsman or a bail bond company acting on behalf of the accused. If the defendant does not appear in court as dictated by the judge, the bail agent will pay a preset amount. This bond serves as an assurance of the temporary freedom of the defendant, who otherwise may not be able to pay the court-determined bail amount.
What Exactly Does a Bail Bondsman Do?
A bail bondsman is basically the defendant’s surety, meaning in case the accused does not appear in court as expected, the bondsman will pay the monetary penalty set by the court. If the accused person violates the bond deal’s terms and conditions as dictated by the court, the bondsman may legally recoup the money from the defendant. This is fortunately a rare occurrence as most people will show up in court when necessary. High-risk defendants though are usually refused bail bonds by surety companies.
Characteristics of a Good Bail Bondsman
If you intend to use a particular bail bondsman, it’s wise to check if they are backed by the Better Business Bureau. Know that some companies will ask for a collateral (usually a car or any property title), while others will not. In any case, a good bail agent will be able to answer questions related to the process, from how the bail hearing goes to how the repayments will be made, etc. Of course, they need to be able to provide documentation as evidence that they can legally work in your jurisdiction. Be sure to ask for your prospective bondsman’s licensing information prior to using their services. Most agents get their license from the state’s Department of Insurance.
In addition, a good bail bondsman will be able to work with the jails and courts 24/7 so that a bail hearing could be arranged as soon as possible. This is why you should choose a bondsman with a long local history. Bondsmen that have a good relationship with the local jail and sheriff will be able to facilitate a quick release and work out favorable terms. As when choosing any legal resource, you need to make sure that you work with the bail agent that is best for your unique situation.