While the Eighth Amendment technically prevents judges from setting bail at a ridiculous amount, it can still be set fairly high, especially if a person is charged for a serious crime. When bail is too expensive for the defendant or someone close to them to pay, help can come in the form of a bail bond: in other words, bail posted by a bail bond agent, as well as a written agreement that the defendant will appear in court. If you are a defendant or know someone unable to pay their own bail, here’s what you need to know about securing bail bonds.
You Won’t Pay Bail, Yet Must Pay the Bond Agent
Your bond agent will pay the court your bail amount in full, but in return, you will have to pay 10 percent (or less—check multiple companies in your area for lower fees, e.g. by looking up bail bonds west chester pa) of the bail fee directly to the agent, as compensation for their services.
You Will Likely Have to Offer Collateral
Just as some courts accept collateral for a defendant’s release, instead of money, so do bond agents. Collateral can include physical items of high value, such as a car, bank card, or property, but it can also include things of high conceptual value, including stocks. When your trial is concluded, that collateral will be returned to you. The bail bond company will keep the aforementioned 10 percent fee, however.
Defendants Usually Don’t Pay Agents Themselves
As a precaution, especially if the defendant is considered to be a flight risk at the bail hearing, a bond agent will often request that somebody pay the agency on the defendant’s behalf.
As intimidating as the bail process may seem, acquiring bail bonds is a fairly straightforward process. Keep this information in mind and your bail should be taken care of without complications.