What is a Bail Bond and How Does it Work?
Posted September 8th, 2023.
When you get charged with a criminal offense, the judge will set bail for you. Judges have a lot of latitude here, so how high your bail can climb can depend on a few different factors, including what type of crime you committed and whether or not you are seen as a danger to other. Defendants who see their bail rise too high often have to rely on a bail bond to get out of prison. A New Jersey criminal defense attorney from our firm can tell you more about how that works.
Do You Have to Use a Bail Bond?
You do not have to use a bail bond to get out of prison. A bail bond is one way to post bail that allows you to spend less of your own money upfront. Instead of paying the full bail amount, you only pay a fraction of it to a bail bondsman. Then they sign the bond with you and charge you an additional fee for guaranteeing the payment.
Usually, this means that the defendant only has to pay around 10% of the total bail amount to get out. So if you have bail set at $10,000, you only need to pay $1,000 to a bail bondsman. However, you should keep in mind that the bondsman and their company charge fees of their own. They are also going to ask for something else from you, and we will get to that in a moment.
What Happens if I Do Not Pay Bail?
If you decide not to pay bail or make arrangements to sign a bail bond, then you have to stay in jail until your court date. This is one reason why our current bail system is often criticized for being unfair to defendants who have fewer assets available to them.
Do You Need Collateral for a Bail Bond?
We said that a bail bondsman is going to ask for something else from you. Their company needs collateral if they are going to bail you out. If you were to fail to appear for your court date, they would lose money. So instead of putting their own money on the line, you will need to gather assets from friends and family members that a bail bondsman can hold onto. This can include:
- Real estate
- Valuable jewelry
If you want that collateral back, you have to show up for your court date.
Do I Get My Bail Money Back if I Use a Bail Bond?
You will not get your money back if you use a bail bond. The company keeps that money that you paid out initially, plus any fee it charged. Any property you put up as collateral is returned to you though.
Schedule a Consultation Today
If you are facing criminal charges, contact the Law Offices of Mark S. Guralnick. We are ready to go to work for you and form your best possible defensive strategy. Schedule your consultation and learn more about what our team can do to assist you.