How Bail Bonds Work

A bail bond is simply a fee you pay to get out jail. The fee can be either paid by the accused or an agency that handles bail bonds. The reason for the creation of bail bond services was based on the belief that an accused need not stay in jail until proven innocent or guilty by the court. Bail bonds are not something that most people frequently think about. However, it is essential that you have a basic understanding as to how the system works and the benefits offered, should you ever find yourself in need of one. This basic understanding could mean the difference between struggling and staying in jail, and being out with your family and friends. While you certainly would not go out with any intentions of getting arrested and requiring the services of a bail bond agency, but we thought it would be nice for you to have a firsthand knowledge of how things work. The crime rate in Birmingham Alabama is fairly high, so it never hurts to know your options.

6 Different Types of Bail Bonds

Even though amounts and types of bail vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, and state to state, there are seven types of bail commonly used bail

  • Recognizance refers to a suspect’s promise to attend all court hearings – there is usually a bail amount set by the court, but the defendant is not required to pay the bail unless they fail to appear. A Citation Release is basically a ticket release – the suspect is issued a citation and given a court date, without having to pay a bail amount, unless they do not appear for their scheduled court date.

  • A surety bond, is a when a third party agrees to pay the bail amount. This is usually done by a bail bondsman at a surety company who will charge a percentage of the bond as his fee. Bondsmen in some cases may take physical property or property deeds to guarantee that the suspect will appear in court. Once the defendant appears at all court hearings, the bondsman is released of all liability and will return the physical property or deeds if they were taken, and the agent will keep the percentage of the bond as their fee.

  • A Property Bond differs from the Surety Bond in that the property is assigned to the Court, rather than a bail bondsman.Most commonly, the value of the property must be twice the amount of the bond itself.

  • An Immigration Bond is a federal bond that is used when the accused is an illegal alien. This is done through a federal court or the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement. There is usually a cost of 10% of the bond amount.

  • Cash-Only bonds or a cash bail bond specifies that the only type of bail accepted is cash. These are most often used when the court believes that the suspect is a flight risk, when the bond amount is equal to unpaid fines, or when the defendant has already missed a prior court date.

  • Combination Bonds are cash or surety bonds that are issued with conditions attached to them. These conditions are usually a condition of Release, which can consist of passport forfeiture, home arrest, electronic monitoring, drug testing, etc. Another condition would be a protective order, which restricts the suspect from having contact with or committing any other crimes against, their alleged victim.

There always has been, and always will be, a controversy surrounding bail practices in this United States of America. It is said that these rules discriminate against the poor, causing them to remain in jail because they can’t afford the bond amount. There are organizations who say that the bail process forces many of those accused to plead guilty due to their inability to post bail. In many states around the country, defendants are allowed to pay the fee charged by the bail bondsmen over a period of time – which is referred to as a payment plan.
The concept of bail has been in existence for decades, so it’s probably safe to say it isn’t going away. Laws have changed and adapted to the times and our growth. Procedures have been put in place limiting the possibility of judicial misconduct and to assure that any suspect eligible for bail has an opportunity to be released from jail prior to their sentencing