What Do Bail Bond Companies Do?

Bail bond companies provide services to those who have been accused of and arrested for crimes. Most people know little of the services bail bond companies provide as you've only seen the sensationalized side of things through reality television shows involving bounty hunters. This article discusses what bonding companies actually do for people who have been accused (not convicted) of various crimes.

What Is Bail?

When you've been arrested for a crime, you will appear before a judge to be formally charged. At this "hearing," the judge will determine if you are eligible for release, first, and then if you can be released on your own recognizance or if you must post bail as a means of ensuring you show up for trial.

This is money the courts will hold until the completion of the trial. Once the trial ends, the money will be returned to you if you've met all the conditions of your bail. Unfortunately, in many cases, the sum owed for bail is greater than many people can quickly come up with, which is why bail bond companies are needed.

Why Are Bail Bond Companies Necessary?

Bail bond companies essentially loan you the money you need to pay your bail for a small down payment. The cost of the bond is usually a percentage of the total amount, often 10 percent, though that may be different according to some state laws. Some bonding companies will require additional assurances from friends and family, in the form of collateral such as a car, home, jewelry, and other valuable items.

Once the bail bond companies receive payment (and other sureties if required), they will send someone to pay the bail on your behalf. They are taking on the risk should you not show up for your appointed court dates and have agreed to repay the remainder of your bail (on your behalf) if you do not appear as ordered.

What Happens If You Fail to Appear?

If you do not appear in court as ordered, it can be bad news for your loved ones. Not only will the courts require the full amount from the bail bond companies, but it could also cost your loved ones the collateral they levied on your behalf.

While bail bond companies provide invaluable services to people who have been arrested, it is always in your best interest not to take those services for granted and live up to your part of the agreement.