If you have a friend or loved one who must post bail but can’t afford the money required by the judge, you can help by contacting a bail bondsman. But while you will find several bail bond companies today, they are no all the same.
Bail Bondsman Defined
A bail bond, also known as a surety bond, is a type of bail that is paid to the courts by a person or company known as a bail bondsman on behalf of the person accused. If the defendant does not appear in court as dictated by the judge, the bail agent will pay a preset amount. The bond ensures the release of the defendant, who otherwise may have to remain in jail because of their inability to pay the court-determined bail amount.
What Exactly Does a Bail Bondsman Do?
A bail bondsman serves as the accused person’s surety, which means that they or the company will pay the monetary penalty if the defendant does not fulfill their promise to show up in court when they have to. 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. Fortunately, this is a rare scenario, with most people showing up in court when they are told to. High-risk defendants though are usually refused bail bonds by surety companies.
Qualities 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. There are companies that ask for a collateral, usually the title to your car or some other property, and there are those that don’t. 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 should be able to show documents proving that they can work legally in your jurisdiction. Be sure to ask for your prospective bondsman’s licensing information prior to using their services. Agents normally obtain their licenses from the state 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 bondsmen with a long local history are your best options. If they are on good terms with the local jail and sheriff, it will be easy for them to negotiate a quick release and make favorable arrangements. As with choosing any legal resource, you have to ensure that the bondsman you choose is the best for your particular situation.