Pounding gavel, handcuffs, and money

Contrary to popular belief there is no constitutional right to bail bonding. “Hogwash!” You say. “What about the 8th amendment?” Well, the 8th amendment does mention bail. But it never states that everyone has a right to bail. Instead it approaches the subject from an oblique angle stating only that “excessive bail shall not be required”. That’s it. Nothing as concrete as the right to bear arms or the right to a speedy trial. The right to bail is inferred by the right to not be saddled with an overtly punitive bail amount. The actual status of bail and its shape is something the founders left to us later generations to figure out. This situation has resulted in bail taking different shapes in different states. And in some states being eliminated altogether. Most bail situations however, can be categorized as either public bail or private bail. But what is the difference?

Public vs. Private Bail Bonding

The terms “public bail” and “private bail” are sufficiently vague to fit right into the often very confusing subject of bail in America. But we’ll do our best to explain the difference.

When an individual is arrested they are taken to a police station and processed. If the crime they are accused of is not heinous in nature (and if there are no other extenuating circumstances that would cause the state to hold them until their trial date), they will be offered bail.

Sometimes bail will be determined on the spot, using what’s called a “bail schedule”. This is a menu of sorts that lists various offenses and the standard bail amount for each. In other cases they will be held until they can be brought before a magistrate or judge who will weigh the circumstances of the case and set a bail amount, along with release conditions. It’s at this point that “public” v “private” bail comes into play. But what do those designations mean?

Public Bail

A public bond goes by a variety of different names, often depending on the part of the country. It may be called a “personal bond” or it may be called a “PR bond” or “PRB” or “Personal Recognizance Bond”, depending on where you are. Or it may simply be referred to as being “released on personal recognizance”. A personal recognizance bond enables the accused to obtain release from custody pending their court date without having to pay the actual bail amount. With this type of public bond the court is indicating it does not view the accused as either a flight risk or a danger to himself or society as a whole.

In some cases however, the accused will be required to post a certain percentage of the bond amount (commonly 10%). This is called a “limited deposit” bond and is still seen as a good faith gesture on behalf of the court. Should the defendant make all their court appearances they will get their money back (minus a small fee) once their case has run its course. If however, they fail to show up in court they will lose the 10% they put up and likely be sued by the state for the remaining 90% of the bail amount.

Private Bail

Private bail is probably the most familiar type to most people. With private bail the accused puts up the full bail amount as a guarantee that they will appear in court on the appointed date. If they make all their court appearances they will get their money back. If they don’t, they won’t. The exact type of public bail will be determined by weighing the specifics of the alleged crime, the history of the defendant, whether they have roots in the community, a job, children and other considerations.

Sometimes the individual will put up the full amount themselves. Doing so is usually the fastest way to obtain release from custody. In other cases though the person won’t be able to come up with the entire bail amount themselves and will instead need to engage the services of an Adams County, Broomfield County, Weld County or Denver bail bonds agent. Should the bondsman agree to work with a particular defendant (they don’t have to if they feel uncomfortable) the accused will pay the agent a small percentage of the total bail amount as a fee for their services.

The bail agent will then post the bail amount for them in the form of a bond that is cosigned most often by a loved one of the accused. Should the accused fail to appear in court, the cosigner will lose whatever collateral they put up to secure the bond and the defendant will then become a fugitive from justice.

The Bottom Line

The differences between a public and private bond have to do in large part with the way a particular defendant is viewed by the court. If they are trusted they may be deserving of a public bond where no money is exchanged. If the court views them as a potential flight risk they’ll likely have to post a private bond which could be fairly sizable.

If you have been arrested and are in need of assistance the pros at Rapid Release Bail Bonds can help you make your bail and obtain release. You’ll be back with your loved ones in no time and back on your job without skipping a beat or anyone being the wiser.