Facing Criminal Charges? Heres What You Need to Know About Bail Bonds

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If you have been arrested and charged with a crime, you will be scheduled for a trial to determine your guilt or innocence. The judge will set a bail amount to guarantee your appearance at the upcoming trial. Most people use the option of going to a bail bondsman, which would require you to pay a percentage of the total bail amount to the bail bond company. Here is what you need to know before going to a local bail bonds company for help:

Bail Is Set by the Judge

If you are accused of a crime, your guilt or innocence isn’t decided immediately. You will be required to attend a trial at a future date. You are guaranteed the right to get a criminal defense attorney to defend you at the trial. If you can’t pay for a lawyer, the court must provide a local attorney for you at no cost through the Legal Aid organization.

The judge may want to guarantee your attendance at your future trial. If so, they will “set bail,” which is a large amount of money you must pay to the court to guarantee your appearance at the upcoming trial. Most people can’t afford to pay the full bail amount. Therefore, most people must go to a local bail bonds service to be sure that the bail will be paid.

The job of bail bondsman agents is to cosign a loan for the total amount of your bail. The court will then consider that the bail has been paid. The agency will charge you a fee (typically 10% of the bail) plus an additional fee for its services. Most reliable bail bondsman offices are located near a courthouse for the convenience of those who need bail services.

How Your Bail Is Set

The judge has complete discretion to decide the amount of the bail to be set. One of the main determinants in setting the amount of local bail bonds is the seriousness of the crime. The judge also considers whether you have a previous criminal record, as well as your current employment status and your family ties to the community. However, according to Nolo, many judges today will use a mathematical formula – known as an algorithm – to determine the amounts of local bail bonds.

These bail algorithms will enter personal information about you into a computer program. The data needed for the algorithm will also include your age, income, and any criminal history. The computer will calculate the probability of whether you will return to court for your trial.

There are times when the judge will deny bail. If the charge is very serious (such as aggravated assault or manslaughter) or another court has already charged you, the judge may order you to be held until your trial. You may be required to stay in jail until the other legal matter has been resolved. If the judge believes you will run from the area, they can deny bail.

Bail Bonds Companies

The amount of bail you are required to pay is set by the judge – and that judge will decide the amount. Although a licensed bail bondsman provides you with a service and will charge you a fee, they are a business, and the bond transaction is treated as a business transaction. Therefore, they will investigate your credit rating. They are lending you a significant amount of money, so they may want you to pledge some collateral – such as your house, your car, or another important asset.

A local bail bonds service office is a business. A licensed bail agent – and their bail bond business – must be licensed by the state where they operate. They will make their money from the fees they charge you for lending you the bail money. If you don’t attend the trial and have pledged your home as collateral, they have the right to take it away.

A reliable bail bonds company typically asks you to check in with them regularly. They do this to ensure you will return to court on the day of your trial. If you don’t return to court on that day, and the bail bondsman can’t locate you, the bail bonds company will owe you the total amount of the bail to the court. Their only other option would be to find you and to convince you to come into court for the trial.

Getting the Money for Your Bail Bond

You may have enough money to pay cash bail bonds in full. However, that is rarely the case, as local bonds are typically set at a substantial amount. Therefore, the bail bond agency asks you to sign an agreement to se your house, car, or other significant asset as collateral. You will also have to pay a fee to use the bail bondsman service, and you won’t get that money back.

If your financial situation is tight, you can look for a Zero-Percent bond agency. These agencies can be difficult to find, but according to Balboa Bail Bond, some Zero-Percent agencies do exist. Alternatively, you can look for an agency that will allow you to use a payment plan. This option is more likely to be offered to someone who can prove a regular source of income.

According to A Way Out Bonds, if you have no viable options to pay for your bail, you have the right to appeal the bail. To appeal, you must appear before another judge. The appeal process is best done with the assistance of a lawyer – and a public defense lawyer can be used for this purpose, if necessary. You may be able to be released without bail if you can prove you aren’t violent and you aren’t a flight risk.

If You Don’t Return for Your Trial

If a client doesn’t appear for their trial, the local bail bonds agency would be liable for paying the total amount of the bail to the court. To prevent this, the bail bond agent service would employ a person to search for the missing client. These searchers are also known as bounty hunters. Their job is to find people who didn’t return for court, and they are paid a fee to find and return the missing clients.

According to Cornell Law, the court grants bounty hunters certain powers. They can track people across state lines, enter their homes without a warrant, detain them, and bring them back to the court. A bounty hunter and a high school graduate must be at least 21 years old. During their first year of work, they must be supervised by an experienced bounty hunter.

How to Become a Bail Bondsman

Those who want to become a bail bondsman must meet the requirements set by the state where they will be licensed. According to Payment Cloud, these professionals will have different qualifications in different states. In all states, you must be 18 years old. A high school diploma or a GED is the minimal educational requirement.

The next step is to take a pre-licensing course, which will provide a student with all the necessary information to perform the actions involved in issuing local bail bonds. Although some states don’t require you to take the course, it is the best preparation for licensing. The license test will include 50 – 60 questions about bail bonds procedures. After you pass that test, you can apply for your state bail bondsman license.

To go into the local bail bonds business, you need to work with a surety company. These companies are like insurance for the money promised to the court by a bail bondsman. If the bail company must pay the full bail amount, the surety company will help them with cash. You can apply for a surety agreement through your state department of insurance.

The History of Bail Bonds

To put local bail bonds into perspective, you may be interested in a brief history of bail bonding. According to A-Affordable Bond, a system resembling our modern system of bail bonds began in San Francisco in 1898, with brothers Pete and Tom McDonough. However, an early practice that resembled bail bonds – known as surety – is believed to have originated with clay tablets that recorded a promise to face criminal charges. Archaeologists found clay tablets with inscribed surety agreements in Eshunna, a city in Akkadia, which is now known as Iraq.

During the Dark Ages and in the early Middle Ages, the criminal justice system had not yet evolved into a formal system. Criminals were at the court’s mercy, and judges could do as they liked – which typically resulted in “an eye for an eye.” A landowner had the authority to execute a poacher or intruder on their property.

According to Wikipedia, a more formal court system was established during the seventh century. However, desperate convicts would frequently run from town to avoid court procedures. This was reportedly why the surety system began. Early practices of surety occasionally used valuable assets like homes but were more frequently secured by the word of a trusted town official, who would speak for the accused criminal and promise they would return.

What to Do If You Are Arrested

If you are arrested, knowing your rights is essential. You may have heard the “Miranda Warning” a thousand times on TV, but its words will become more valuable when you are the one who is accused. Your right not to speak means you don’t have to answer questions when the police arrest you. They may pressure you to give information or talk about the charges, but you can keep quitting until you have a lawyer with you. This right is essential because the police can use anything you say when your charges are brought to court.

If the police ask to search your home, you can refuse that search unless they bring a search warrant. A judge must issue a search warrant, and it must specify what the police are looking for. If you are arrested while driving, the police can’t look inside your car or its trunk without your agreement. Even if you didn’t commit the crime, the police are allowed to use anything they find inside your vehicle to make it look as though you are guilty.

Your most important right is your right to have an attorney. Criminal lawyers are the best option to defend you against any criminal charges. If you can’t afford a lawyer, the court is obligated to appoint a lawyer through the Legal Aid system. If the judge sets bail for you, and you can’t afford to pay the bail, your lawyer can help you find one of the 24 hours bail services in your area.

Working With a Criminal Lawyer

If you are innocent, your primary concern will be to get the criminal charges dropped. If you are guilty of a crime, an experienced attorney can help you to get the charges reduced or dropped. The attorney may be able to prove the police didn’t conduct the arrest properly or contest the testimony of any witnesses who speak against you in court. Your lawyer will also remind you that if you are working with a local bail bonds company, you have agreed to attend your upcoming trial.

When you first meet your attorney, it is best to be completely honest with them. They aren’t allowed to reveal anything you say, even if you admit you are guilty of the crime. A criminal lawyer will listen to what you say and try to find the best way to prove you are innocent. They may ask for character witnesses who are willing to testify for your character and honesty.

Being accused of a crime can be overwhelming, especially if you are innocent. Your best action will be to find an attorney you can trust and to follow their advice. You should remember how essential it will be to your reputation to honor your agreement with to return for your upcoming trial so you don’t lose the investment of the money you paid for the bail bond. Best wishes to you during your upcoming trial!

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