The bail system in America is an often misunderstood form of check and balance in law. Bail isn’t an arbitrary fine and it isn’t meant to be a punishment, for the most part. Knowing how bail works, you can understand how it is more of a risk-management system for the courts.
It has been in practice for centuries, in fact. The first recorded instance of posting bail for temporary release dates back to the 13th century in England. Today’s bail bonds are a lot more refined and nuanced, of course.
Let’s understand what to do in the event that you or someone you know needs to be bailed out. Refer to this simple guide for how bail bonds work in Raleigh, NC.
1. Prerequisite Information
Before approaching a bail bondsman, you should gather the following information:
- Location of the person in custody
- Full name, city, county, and jail name
- Booking info (number, who booked them, and time)
- Price of bail
If they haven’t had their bail hearing, prepare them for it. The judge uses a number of qualifications to determine the price of bail. Some of these are unchangeable, while things like behavior or evidence can affect the ruling.
2. Bonding Out
A person has four options for bonding out of jail. The first option is to just pay directly to the courts with cash. The second is to pay directly using property and other assets. The third is through a licensed bail bondsman.
The fourth and least likely scenario is when the judge decides on their terms to release the defendant. This usually occurs when there is a break in the case and there is no likelihood of conviction. The courts don’t want to waste time and money on cases that are unwinnable.
If you have the full amount of bail on-hand, you can pay the courts. In this case, your money will be returned in full upon fulfillment of the defendant’s obligations.
3. Refunds for Bail Paid
The whole reason for using a bondsman is being able to bail out at a fraction of the cost. Whether they are innocent or guilty, that fee paid was for the freedom during the trial process. Only in the case of a bondsman violating contract (not adjusting for reduced liability, etc.) could one argue for a refund.
4. No-Shows for Bonds
If you post bail for someone who doesn’t show up for their court dates, you could lose your bond money. This is something you must consider if you plan on posting bail for someone.
If this scenario does happen, the courts usually give 90 days for you to get the person to court. Otherwise, your bond will go into default status and you will lose your money.
5. Staying Compliant
Unless it is stated explicitly, the defendant must stay within state or county lines. This will vary depending on the severity of the crimes charged. If the defendant leaves without permission of the bondsman and court, a warrant will be posted.
This is bad for the person who has posted bond, of course. The defendant would lose their ability to wait for trial outside the court and lose their bond. More on forfeiture of bonds later in our list.
6. Limits on Bond Premiums
There isn’t a lot of room for negotiating bail for bail bonds in Raleigh, NC. The state statute states a minimum of 8% of the bail price. The maximum allowable premium will always be 10%. It is illegal to go beyond these fees outlined, and the bondsman could lose their license.
Beware of bail bonds that try to convince you that they can achieve lower rates. They may promise you whatever they want, but the final bill has to be within the legal ranges.
7. The Difference Between Bondsmen
Even though there are statutes that cap the amount that bondsman can charge, it is worth researching differences. Not all bail bondsmen have the capacity or motivation to work hard for your case. The best bondsmen will negotiate with the courts to determine collateral values.
Experienced establishments have strong relationships with the justice system. This can come in handy when pleading for more leniency, for example. Bail bonds can even provide assistance for finding a reputable lawyer.
You can research bail bonds companies by looking on the Better Business Bureau website. The rating given by the BBB is based on the number of complaints and history of the business.
8. What Is Used as Collateral?
There is usually a wide variety of collateral options to choose from. The most obvious being property and cars owned. Other items that can be leveraged include credit, jewelry, stock options, savings accounts, and appraised antiques.
Again, make sure you understand the contractual agreement before bonding with collateral. There are legal obligations for both parties in order to use collateral.
9. Arrested While Out on Bond
If for whatever reason the defendant is booked into custody while on bond, it will result in the revocation of said bond. That means you forfeit your money and/or collateral. If you attempt to surrender the bond at any time, you have to pay the premium.
You can bail someone out twice, but it has to be done with a separate bond. That’s twice the premium paid for one defendant. We hope that person is worth defending and has a tight case in their favor.
More Info on How Bail Works
This is just the general rules on how bail works. There are variations based on local statutes and other circumstances. If you looking to bail someone out fast, don’t rush into any bail bonds building across the street.
At Amistad Bail and Immigration Bonds, we pride ourselves in transparency and efficiency. We want to get family members and friends out of jail honestly and intelligently. If you need experienced bail bondsmen, we have a team who knows NC law.
We will help you find a way to get your family or loved one out of jail, even if you don’t have a lot. A great bail bondsman will know exactly what type of collateral will suffice.
You can contact us any time, 24/7, for a free consultation. Hablamos Espanol.