How Does The Bail Bonds Process Work?

Watch our video below for a general idea of how the bail bond process works. Each state has different laws, processes & procedures.

Disclaimer: The video gives an example of a 15% fee but in New York State the fee cannot exceed 10% and is calculated as 10% up to $3,000, 8% for $3,000-$10,000, 6% for the amount over $10,000. Click on our “Fees” Tab for examples.

Frequently Asked Questions About Bail Bonds

Here are the answers to the questions you may have about bail bonds. It is common for people to not know what to expect regarding bail bonds until they or a loved one is arrested. As such, they often ask the same questions about bail, the bonding process, how to get in touch with a bail bondsman, and the associated costs. Here, we attempt to provide answers to FAQs for bail bonds.

Who and what determines a person's bail amount?

The bail amount is set by a judge during a bail hearing. The judge will consider a variety of factors, including the severity of the crime, previous convictions, the defendant’s ties to the community, family, and whether or not they have steady employment.

Why do I need to hire a bail agent?

If you cannot afford bail, you need to hire a bail agent. You will pay a small fee to the agent, who will take on the responsibility of the full bail amount.

When will the bail agent post the bond?

The bail agent posts the bond after the premium has been paid and any collateral has been signed over.

How long will it take for the defendant to be released from jail?

The process of bailing someone out can take a short time or several hours. It depends on the circumstances and how crowded the jail is and if a Judge is available.

What are the defendant's responsibilities once they've realeased?

After the person has been released, they must show up for all court proceedings and meet any conditions set by the bail agent.

What happens if the defendant doesn't show up for their court date?

If the defendant fails to appear in court, the bail agent will be required to pay the full bail amount. If this happens or if the defendant violates any bail conditions, the bail agent will locate the defendant and take them back to jail. If the defendant does not make their court date you could lose any collateral that was signed over with the bond, but as long the defendant complies with the terms set by the bail agent and shows up for all court dates, you shouldn’t have anything to worry about.

How long do I have to abide by the terms of the bond?

Once the trial is over you are no longer obligated to the bond. It does not matter whether the defendant was found innocent or guilty.

How do I get a bail bond?

There are four ways in which a person may be released from custody.

  • You can use a bondsman.
  • You can post cash for the full amount of the bond with the court or jail.
  • You can use real property (such as a home or a lot) with the court.
  • And lastly, the judge can decide to let the defendant go on their own recognizance.

Do I get my money back after the case is over?

The bail bond premium is non-refundable. The premium is a fee for the bail agent’s services to manage the defendant and make sure he or she shows up to all required court appearances. This fee is what allowed the defendant to get out of jail and is fully earned once the defendant is out of custody. For example if the defendant gets rearrested a week later you get no portion nor a refund of any money. If the bondsman fails to live up to his end of the contract then and only then you may be entitled to a refund of some kind.

What if the I think the defendant is not going to show up for court after I have posted the bond?

There are remedies that can be done here as well, contact the bondsmen as soon as possible so that they can discuss your option in full detail with you.

Can the defendant leave the state or the country while on bond?

You will have to get permission from the bonding office in writing before attempting to do so. If the court has given you direct instructions not to leave the state or country you must then get permission from the bail agent and the court before leaving. Otherwise you are subject to arrest.

Can a bail agent discount the fees on the premium?

Not in New York State. Click on our “Fees” Tab for examples.

Are some bondsmen less expensive than others?

All Bail Bondsmen have to charge the same fee per New York State Law. Click on our “Fees” Tab for examples.

What do bondsmen accept as collateral and what is collateral?

Each bonding office will have their own standards but for the most part you can expect them to accept various forms of bail collateral. Some examples of collateral include Real Estate, Mobile Homes, Cars, Motorcycles and Cash.

Collateral is offered in place of or in addition to bail money in order to secure the release of the person who has been arrested. Consider it a form of credit or a loan to ensure that the person shows up in court. Collateral can come in many forms; it can be your house or other assets of a certain given value.

If you are offering your house, car or other large property items as collateral, the court or bail agent will typically have you place the deed or pink slip in their trust. If it is a smaller item such as jewelry, they will take physical possession and keep it in a secure location until the case is resolved.

Most of the time bail collateral takes the form of property. If the court is collecting on a property-based bail collateral because of a failure to appear in court, it typically involves the seizure and sale of the individual’s home. Property bail takes weeks to collect on, and equity in the estate being sold must be determined to equal at least 150% of what is owed the court.

Collateral will be returned when the case is completed, whether the person is found innocent, the charges are dropped, the person is sentenced or bail is exonerated. If the individual for whom the bail collateral was offered fails to appear in court at the agreed upon time and date, the collateral will be seized or collected by the court or the bail bond company.

What happens if the defendant gets re-arrested while out of bond?

Once the defendant is back in custody the bond can be surrendered and your liability will be terminated. There are a few problems here: if you decided to surrender the bond you will lose the premium that was paid, and if you decided to get the defendant out on bond again, you will now have to post two new bonds and pay the premium on both bonds again.