When law enforcement arrests a defendant, they may agree to release them on bail. In this situation, the arrested person must pay a fixed sum to secure their release from prison, which authorities will return to them if they show up at court for their trial.
Unfortunately, many defendants don’t have sufficient money to pay for their release. That’s because bail amounts can be high in California – often tens of thousands of dollars.
Bail bondsmen can help by providing the money defendants need upfront in return for a small fee. Defendants pay up to 10 percent of the value of their bail, and then the bail bondsman pays bail on their behalf, securing their release.
The purpose of this post is to describe what bail bondsmen are and what they do. You’ll learn their role in the legal process and why using them is beneficial.
What Is A Bail Bondsman?
A bail bondsman is a professional who assists defendants when they require bail for release from police custody. Usually, police will arrest someone charged with a crime and hold them in jail until their court date. Unfortunately, defendants sometimes must wait several months for that to happen, missing out on work and spending time with family and friends.
A bail bondsman eliminates that risk by providing the funds upfront. Defendants can usually leave jail within 24 hours of the bail payment being made.
Law enforcement officials agree to work with bail bondsmen because they guarantee the defendant will appear in court on the requested date. Instead of the defendant taking on the risk of losing their own money for not showing up, the bail bondsman service does that instead. As such, bail bondsmen have the right to deliver defendants to court on the requested date to secure the safe return of their bail payment. If the defendant fails to attend their court date, the bail bondsman can hire a bounty hunter to find and arrest them. The bail bondsman can also claim the collateral that the defendant or a co-signer put up for the bail bond.
A bail bondsman charges a fee for their services, usually a percentage of the bail amount. The law limits this fee to 10% of the bail’s value in California. For instance, if law enforcement sets the bail amount at $50,000, the bondsman’s fees cannot exceed $5,000.
Bail bondsmen are a relatively unique feature of the U.S. legal system. Other countries have alternative means of ensuring defendants appear in court.
The Bail Reform Act of 1984 set out the rules for bail bondsmen operating in the U.S. However, some states forbid commercial bail bondsmen, and others, like California, require bail bondsmen to be licensed and certified by the Department of Insurance.
What Do Bail Bondsmen Do?
Bail bondsmen are essential agents who assist defendants after their arrest. Their most important function is to provide arrestees with bail money.
Quality bail bondsmen provide their clients with a range of options for getting in touch with them to arrange a bail bond. Email and phone support are usually available 24/7 (since police may arrest defendants at any time of the day).
Once they establish contact, they assess the defendant’s case. They will then make a bail bond offer based on the information they receive. The defendant is then free to accept the terms or remain in jail.
If they accept the fee (usually 7 to 10 percent in California), the bail bondsman then gives the court a surety bond – a promise to pay the full bail if the defendant skips bail. Law enforcement then releases the defendant, usually within a few hours.
Bail bondsmen then perform various additional functions, including:-
- Monitoring defendants to ensure they appear in court
- Providing bounty hunter support to ensure defendants do not flee
- Helping the defendant find a suitable lawyer
Why Are Bail Bondsmen Essential?
Bail bondsmen play a critical role in the criminal justice system because they help defendants who cannot afford to pay the full bail amount to get out of jail and prepare for their trial. Defendants would otherwise need to remain in jail awaiting their court hearing and have to organize their defense from the confines of a jail cell.
However, there are other reasons why bail bondsmen are an important feature of the California legal system.
They Promote Public Safety And Accountability
First, bail bondsmen promote public safety and accountability by ensuring defendants appear in court on the specified date. Agents assess each defendant’s risk and set a bail amount that reflects their likelihood of appearing in court and not committing new crimes while out on bail.
Many bail bondsmen also monitor and supervise their clients while out on bail. If they break the bail terms, they return them to jail to ensure they appear at trial. Defendants must not violate any of the terms of their release.
This service is beneficial for released defendants because it ensures they stick to their bail terms. Failing to do so could lead to harsher penalties in court.
They Protect Defendants’ Rights
Another benefit of bail bondsmen is that they protect defendants’ rights. The right to bail is guaranteed by the Eighth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which prohibits excessive bail and cruel and unusual punishments. Defendants are better able to hire lawyers and prepare their defense outside of a jail cell.
They Reduce The Burden On Jails And Taxpayers
Lastly, bail bondsmen reduce the burden on jailhouses and taxpayers. They provide funds to free up space and resources for those who need them more. Defendants that remain outside of jail do not require the state to pay for their food and shelter.
So, what is a bail agent? Essentially, it’s someone who secures the pretrial release of a defendant by offering to pay the full bail amount in exchange for a fee. These services are helpful for defendants who may need to wait several months for their trial and want to work and continue life as normal.
Mr. Nice Guy Bail Bonds offers rapid release from jail, a friendly service, and the lowest rates in the area. Call 844-400-2245 to learn more.