What is Bail?
Bail is the process of providing money to get out of jail after an arrest. When you receive bail, you are under obligation to appear in court for the trial. A bondsman provides the majority of the bail amount while charging a typical fee of ten to 15 percent of the actual bail amount. The bondsman will also require a lien against something of equal value to the remaining bail amount.
For instance, if a bail amount is set for ten thousand dollars ($10,000), you would need one thousand five hundred dollars ($1,500) in cash to obtain the bond. Then sign a lien against your home or other asset to secure the remaining eight thousand five hundred dollars ($8,500) of the bail bond. In some cases, our bail amount may be determined by a set schedule according to the offense. You are able to pay or arrange bail without seeing a judge and obtain your release from jail much faster.
The purpose of bail is to assure the attendance of the defendant, when his or her appearance is required in court, whether before or after conviction. Bail is not a means of punishing a defendant. You have a constitutional right to bail.
What is Collateral?
Items that are considered good collateral:
Unencumbered Real Estate. Items of major collateral such as a car, boat, motor home, etc. are deemed good, but must be surrendered to the bail agent who will hold them in secure place. These items are normally valued at their current resale value, not what you originally paid for them. Personal items of high value such as jewelry, firearms, computers, cameras, stereos, etc. can be used as collateral, but like items of major collateral, must be surrendered to the bail agent who will hold them in a safe or other secure place. These items are normally valued at their current resale value, not what you originally paid for them.
Items that are not considered good collateral:
A house that you are still paying a mortgage on. We can do this, but it takes some time. Any item (such as a car) that you have purchased on credit in which the lender holds the title and you make payments to.
You will get your collateral back upon completion of the court case.
This happens when the charges are dropped, the person is found innocent at trial, or the person is sentenced to probation/jail time. Of course, the collateral will only be returned if there is no outstanding balance due on the premium. The bail bond agent has a fiduciary (formal legal) responsibility to safeguard all collateral.