Navigating through the US Legal System can be confusing and stressful, especially if you're in the middle of a pending case. Legal difficulties come in a range of severity with a corresponding range of financial complications. It's in these trying times that a Bail Bondsman can be a lifesaver, helping to keep you or your loved ones away from imprisonment.

Bail is the term used for money (or other collateral like property) asked by the court system to allow a defendant to avoid jail time while awaiting trial. The money is returned to the individual so long as they show up for court, but judges typically ask for bail to be set at staggering amounts. $50,000 is not an unusual number for smaller cases.

Federal Bail Bond

Bail Bondsmen act as intermediaries between the defendant and the court. Adams County Bail Bondsmen typically have their defendant released from custody in just a few hours for minimal fees. They do this by securing a contract with you and the court that eliminates most of your bail in exchange for your promised appearance. You pay a fraction of your initial bail to the agency – usually around 10% of what the court asks - and your Bail Bondsman covers the rest until your legal battle is resolved and the bail is returned.

With this in mind, it is important to recognize the rather large variations in bail bonds that follow individual legal cases. Bails set for Federal cases, for example, tend to be much higher figures than local cases and are often complicated with other stipulations like drug testing. We'll take a look at the different types of bail bonds and what to expect from each.

Cash Bonds

Cash bonds are perhaps the least complicated, but only accommodate people with relatively large pocketbooks. With a cash bond, the defendant pays the entirety of the amount asked by the court system. There are no third parties to get involved with, but the defendant should keep in mind all the other finances that coincide with a court battle. The defendant must have enough money to provide himself with legal counsel in some cases as well as keep up with standard living expenses. All those expenditures can add up very quickly, especially if you've drained your nest egg paying the entire cost of a bond.

Federal Bail Bonds

Certainly, the most severe type of bond situation, Federal Bail functions a little differently than other varieties. These are used when a defendant is accused of a federal crime and are only issued after the defendant is seen in court. That means under these circumstances the accused must remain in custody between the time of the arrest and that of the court appearance. Your bail amount is set by the Magistrate, but largely determined by a Pretrial Service Officer who bases his recommendation on your past legal history, the nature of the offense, and local contracts with your community. The bail amount is usually set on the day of the arrest but can take up to a few days to determine.

Any person considered a possible flight risk (or possible threat of running away) can be denied bail, but the accused has the option of appealing this decision to a federal judge for bail to be set at a later date. The federal court system, unlike its state counterpart, may place a wide variety of “pretrial” conditions on the accused that include (but are not limited to):

  • Surrendering of passports or firearms
  • Abstaining from drugs/alcohol
  • Monitoring by GPS tracking device
  • Participation in mental health screenings

Immigration Bonds

Immigration Bonds only apply to immigrants visiting the US, not US citizens. These types of bonds are extremely complicated and pose a considerable risk to the bondsman. As a result, these bonds are harder to acquire and generally more expensive. If you happen to find yourself or a loved one in the position of being an accused foreign national, the first thing to do is call a federal criminal defense attorney, as the consequences for this situation can be severe.

Property Bail Bonds

On rare occasions, a sympathetic court will allow property to be used for bail instead of money. These are called Property Bail Bonds. Like Immigration Bonds, Property Bail Bonds are unusually complicated and risk-involved for the bondsman, costing more for the accused and the bondsman, alike. Typically, the property must be worth two times the value of the bail to be considered.

Surety Bail Bonds

A Surety Bond or Surety is a contract made between a guarantor or bondsman, an obligee (such as a court), and the accused. These contracts require the guarantor to pay the full amount of the bail fee if the accused fails to meet the contract specifications, such as being present for a court hearing. With such intense financial liability on behalf of the guarantor, Surety bonds often require the accused to give the guarantor some sort of collateral. Like Federal Bonds, Surety Bonds can require a lengthy list of legal stipulations to be met for release. These can include obligations such as drug treatment and counseling programs.

Whatever your situation, having all the facts on getting yourself out of legal trouble can save you time and money, not to mention stress. Bail Bonds vary from state to state and even county to county, so having a knowledgeable bondsman on your side in times of crisis can be priceless.