Bail bond companies are essential in helping people get financial support when they’re arrested. Most people cannot afford the full bail amount, so they get assistance from a bail bondsman. Here, the bail bondsman will cover the cost of bail, acting as the individual’s guarantor. They pay bail and will receive the full bail amount back if the individual attends all court dates and their case is resolved.
When you look at it like this, you wonder how bail bond agencies make money. The service largely revolves around lending people money and getting it back. So, how do these companies stay in business? As an experienced bail bond agency, we’re in the prime position to explain how this industry works.
How Do Bail Bond Companies Make Money?
Imagine you are arrested for a crime - or under suspicion of committing a crime. You’ll be placed in a holding cell where the jail will set bail. The bail amount depends on the severity of the alleged crime, your previous criminal activity, and your flight risk. In California, we’ve seen instances where bail can be as much as $50,000, possibly more.
You can’t afford to pay $50,000 in cash upfront, so you choose to hire a bail bond agency. As a result, the bail bond company will cover the $50,000 for you, allowing you to be released with bail.
However, you will be charged a fee for this service. 10% of your bail is the minimum fee in most cases. In the scenario above, this will mean your bail bond costs $5,000. While still a lot of money, it is nowhere near as substantial as paying $50,000. This makes the entire bail process more manageable.
When your case is resolved, the bail will be exonerated. The court releases the bail back to your bail bond agency, so they get their $50,000 back. Your $5,000 fee isn’t returned to you, which is how bail bond companies make money.
What Happens If Bail Is Forfeited?
There are scenarios when bail forfeiture comes into play. Individuals who are released on bail must adhere to certain terms. They are outlined by the court and stipulate what you can or can’t do while awaiting trial. It’s not rocket science - you’re usually required to attend all court dates and avoid being arrested for other crimes.
If these terms are violated, bail is forfeited. As a consequence, the full bail amount will need to be paid by the bail bondsman. The court takes this money because you violated the bail terms. You can imagine this is a nightmare scenario for bail bond agencies as it means they lose a lot of money. In the scenario above, they would lose $45,000 on one client alone.
That’s why the court grants bail bond agencies the right to chase after clients if they violate the terms of their bond. They can work with law enforcement agencies or private bounty hunters to track down clients and bring them to court. Here, there is a chance to get a motion to reinstate bond, putting a new bail in place. New terms will apply and the bail bond agency can reclaim their money if the client attends all court dates from this point on.
Otherwise, it’s possible the bail bond agency can reclaim money directly from the client.
What Determines A Bail Bond Fee?
Bail bondsmen set fees on a case-by-case basis. 10% is the industry minimum, but this can increase depending on the following:
- The severity of the crime committed
- The likelihood of an individual violating bail terms
- The individual's criminal history
High-risk cases are ones when there’s a good chance the individual might skip bail, leading to the situation described above. Therefore, bail bond companies will charge a higher fee to offset any potential losses.
Get Help With Bail Bonds Today
To summarize, bail bond companies make money by charging fees for their service. It’s a simple principle that allows individuals to avoid paying extortionate bail amounts. If you - or someone you know - need help posting bail, contact our team today. We will discuss the case and provide a fee for our service, so you can quickly post bail and get out of jail as soon as possible.