A bail bond is the amount of money that must be paid before a person is let out of jail. Within 48 hours of the arrest of a first-time offender, bail should be set. However, before completing an internet search for a bonding company in your area, e.g. “bail bonds Harrisburg PA,” you may need to know a few things about bail bonds.
Bail Versus Bail Bonds
Bail is the amount of money a judge sets to ensure that a defendant will show up to court. This amount can be significant, requiring that the individual who was arrested either sit in jail or seek the help of a third party to pay.
The defendant can also seek the help of a third party, a surety, to pay the bail. In this instance, the surety posts the entire bail amount for the individual and receives a 10% fee. Bail bonds can be sought in both civil and criminal cases. Sureties are typically used when the bail is set at a level the defendant cannot pay on their own.
Bail bonds are typically secured through collateral. If defendants do not have the collateral necessary to secure the bond, their family and friends may step in. Collateral may include real estate, jewelry, vehicles, investments and credit cards.
If the accused does not show up to court, the entire bail amount comes due. In this instance, the surety takes possession of the collateral to pay the court. If the individual does show up to court at the appropriate times, bail is eliminated. In this case, the collateral is returned to the defendant or whoever secured the bond and the surety keeps the 10% fee.
The courts may require more than just bail. They may also require that the defendant be employed, complete treatment programs or adhere to specific court orders, such as no-contact orders.
Before securing a bond, defendants should understand all that is required of them from the court.