Bail bonds are used within the criminal justice system to allow people who have been arrested for criminal activity to be released from jail while awaiting their trial. Most bonds require the use of money or property as collateral to incentivize the defendant to appear in court on the set date. The federal courts and many states use a schedule that determines when a person is eligible to post a bail bond and the amount required for release. Bail is not allowed when the defendant is viewed as being a flight risk or if there is a possibility that they pose a danger to the community.
Types of Bonds
Unless a person is released on his or her own recognizance, a bond must be posted. There are two types of bonds:
- Cash Bond. This bond require that the entire amount of the set bail amount be paid prior to the defendant’s release. There is an expectation that the full amount of this bond will be refunded when they appear in court, but if there are fees, fines, and other payments due as a result of the defendant’s actions, the court may keep some or all of the bond amount to pay these items.
- Surety Bond. This bond is often used when the bail is set higher than what the defendant can pay. In this situation, a bail bondsman pays the court the full bail and is paid a percentage of this amount by the defendant as the fee for the service. When the defendant appears in court, the bail bondsman’s money is returned. In states such as Florida, the amount a bail bondsman can charge is set by law and it is illegal to charge more or less than this amount.
Once the bond is posted the person is released from jail, and it is forfeited if the defendant does not appear in court as scheduled. To avoid the risk of loss, bondsmen who have posted surety bonds will work with their clients to assure that they are present at hearing dates.
Criminal Defense Attorneys and Bail Bondsmen
Attorneys work with reputable bail bondsmen because they perform a necessary function within the criminal justice system. Bail bondsmen allow an attorney to:
- Provide their clients with the ability to post bail even if they have limited financial means;
- Have access to their clients outside of the jail or prison system; and
- Trust that their client will be present for any necessary hearings or trials.
While released on bond, the defendant can continue to work, care for their family and assist in the development of their defense. The person may also begin therapy services or take other actions that could mitigate their sentence. Being out of jail on bond is part of a strong defense strategy and experienced criminal defense attorneys know the best ones to use.
Wait to Hire a Bail Bondsman
After an arrest, the first person a defendant should call is an experienced criminal defense attorney. This lawyer may be able to mitigate the impact of the arrest by:
- Having their client released on his or her own recognizance, meaning that there is no bail;
- Negotiating to reduce the bail amount; or
- Keeping the bail amount from increasing.
Only after the bail is set will the defendant know if bail is required and if a bail bondsman is necessary.
Although a reputable bail bondsman plays an important role in the criminal justice system, the primary support that you have is your experienced criminal defense attorney. This person will represent your interests and help you access any additional services you may need, including a bondsman if necessary. Learn more with this guide about Tampa bail bonds . Our criminal defense attorneys will provide skill representation that addresses your unique needs. Contact us to learn more or for a free consultation.