Ins and Outs of Bail Bonds
In the United States court system, defendants are considered innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. The bail system was established to give defendants the opportunity to remain in the community while awaiting trial for a crime. As the amount of bail required is higher than many people’s cash reserves, many people choose to use a bail bonds West Chester PA service to fulfill the bail obligation.
What is Bail?
Bail is an amount of cash, determined by a judge based on case specifics, that is required by the court as a guarantee that the defendant will show back up for future court dates.
In general, the more severe the crime, the higher the amount of bail. Judges can also choose to either release a defendant into the community without bail or, for more severe or violent crimes, not offer bail at all. When the latter occurs, the individual must remain in jail throughout the entire legal process.
What are Bail Bonds?
Bail amounts can run in the tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars, making an upfront cash bail payment impossible for many people. Bail bonds services provide a bridge that allows an individual to meet the requirements of bail without paying the entire amount up front.
A bail bond is a type of surety bond that is issued by a bail bondman, or bail agent to the court. In order to secure this bond, the bondsman requires the client to pay a certain percentage of his or her bail amount (commonly around 10%). The agent will then secure collateral for the rest of the bail amount. For example, a bail set at $20,000 would incur a fee of $2,000. The defendant would need to back the rest of the amount with collateral in the form of property of equal value.
Upon completion of the judicial process, the collateral property is returned to the defendant, while the bail bondsman retains the original downpayment as a fee for the service.
What Happens if Bail is Revoked?
Bail can be revoked if the defendant does not fulfill the terms of his or her bail. The most common reason for bail revocation would be not showing up for a scheduled court appearance or other court-ordered meeting or treatment. When bail is revoked, the money that was put down will be seized by the court and the judge will issue an arrest warrant for the individual.