Essentially, a bail bond is a written promise that ensures the defendant will return to court on his due date. This relieves the jail from the responsibilities of having to house and feed the defendant, until the trial. The bail bond is signed by the defendant and, if the defendant utilizes a service to help him arrange the bail payment, a representative for that service also signs the bail bond. The amount to be paid is set by the court in advance.
How Does a Bail Bond Work?
Bail is intended to serve as insurance, so the courts can guarantee the defendant will return to trial if they are released. When the bail hearing takes place, the defendant will find out the amount of the bail, but that doesn’t mean they will be able to pay it. First, it’s an unexpected financial burden and the defendant may not have that much cash readily available. Second, even with advance warning, the bail can be high enough that the defendant simply won’t be able to raise that kind of money.
This is where a Peachtree Corners bail bondsmen can become useful. Surety bond companies act almost like any other lender, except that they deal exclusively in loaning to those in need of bail money. The surety company will post the bail through a bondsman to ensure the defendant’s release. Later, once the defendant has appeared at trial and the bail has been released, the surety company will reclaim the money they put up against the bail bond. Usually, the fee for this service is equivalent to a percentage of the bail.
While surety companies in Gwinnett County will typically try to help anyone involved in the criminal justice system, there is an approval process. Surety companies would lose more money than they made if they handed out bail payments without collecting any information. For that reason, you must supply the company with information, just as you would do with any other type of lender.
What Does it Take to Qualify?
In some cases, the surety company will only require a statement that verifies your credit rating, but usually they expect some form of collateral. The bail bondsman won’t be able to post your bail unless you can provide valuable property such as real estate or securities to back up the money being paid on your behalf. Once you have been approved, the process can move forward.
In most cases, the next step is to arrange for a family member or a trusted friend to visit the bail bondsman and pay an initial fee. Once that payment has been secured, the company’s bondsmen in Gwinnett County will go to the courthouse and submit a surety bond on behalf of the defendant. This will allow for the defendant’s release. When the court date arrives and the defendant appears in court, the bail is mitigated and the defendant’s arrangement with the surety company is considered finalized. The defendant will no longer owe any obligation in relation to the bail bond.
The problem arises if the defendant doesn’t appear for his scheduled court date. In that case, the court will claim the bail in payment to cover the bail bond, causing the surety company to lose that money. In these instances, two things occur:
- The surety company sends someone to locate and apprehend the defendant, who is now considered a fugitive.
- The defendant’s family is required to reimburse the surety company for the full amount of the bail.
Additionally, it’s likely that any property used as collateral for the bail bond will be forfeited. Many people use their homes as collateral. If this is the case, the defendant’s family may find themselves without a home. Failure to appear in court costs not only from the surety company, but also the defendant‘s family, which is why it’s important to show up on time to court. Skipping out while on bail can also destroy your credit rating and your liberty.
Facing criminal charges is a frightening and complicated process. It can be especially harrowing when you’re forced to sit in jail to await your trial date. For this reason, making use of the bail system isn’t just a luxury, it can often be a necessity. It allows you the opportunity to consult with your attorney, gather evidence to use in your defense, and reconnect with your family. There’s much to be done between your arraignment and your trial. Making use of a bail bondsman’s services is often the only way to secure your freedom.