Bail bonds. They can be the difference between spending time in jail versus spending time in your own home while a trial is pending.
In the United States, about two million people need a bail bond every year. Unfortunately, not everybody that needs one has the cash to meet their bail demand.
So, what can you do in that situation? You can use the collateral property.
However, this comes with a catch. You have to meet the terms and conditions of the bail otherwise your property can get seized.
How can your collateral property get seized by the court? What happens if it gets seized by the court? This is what you can do.
What Is a Bail Bond?
A bail bond is something that allows you to get the money that you need to at least temporarily get out of jail. It allows you to sit in your own home while a trial is pending rather than wait in jail.
Bail bonds are typically a certain amount of cash that the court demands before they will release you from jail.
The amount depends on the severity of your crime. For example, if you are a first-time offender and the offense is minor, your bail may not even cost $1,000. However, if the court deems you a big flight risk and the crime that you are accused of is serious enough, your bail bond could be hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Typical conditions of a bail bond are that you have to appear in court for your trial and if you fail to do so, then the cash you paid in court will get seized.
In other words, you have the chance to get that money back if you appear for trial. If you do not appear for trial, the court will keep your money.
Now, not everybody will have enough cash to cover the demands of a bail bond. Fortunately, there are other options if you cannot come up with the cash.
One of those options is to put up collateral. Collateral is when you put up an item that is worth the amount that the bond is asking for plus any outstanding liabilities.
So, let’s say for example that you or a loved one are in jail right now. The courts demand $100,000 as the bail for this person to be granted a bail bond.
However, you do not have nearly enough money in your bank account to cover this bail amount. However, your house could be worth $150,000. That is when you would qualify to use that as collateral property against the bail.
In this situation, you are risking your house to meet the conditions of the bail bond. This means that if you do not show up for a trial, the bail bondsman or the court can seize your house.
What You Need
When you are putting up the collateral property, you typically need to present the deed of your house or asset to a court. They will then review it and if it is accepted, the deed will be taken by them while you or a loved one are released from jail.
The court will keep the deed if the terms of the bail bond are not met.
You do not have to be the one that has the deed in their name if you are the one that needs the bail bond. You have the option of having a loved one or friend put up the property themselves. A bail bond can have a cosigner that puts up the collateral property on your behalf.
Keep in mind that if you are putting up the property on someone else’s behalf, their actions are going to affect whether or not you have a home to go back to when the trial settles. Make sure you know what you are getting into if you want to become a cosigner.
Remember, the median home price in the United States is over $400,000 in 2022 and has increased by 30% just in the last two years. That alone is plenty of motivation to not skip bail, because replacing a home will be very difficult.
What Happens if Collateral Property Is Seized?
So you reach the point where you are risking losing collateral property. This mainly occurs when a defendant fails to appear at trial. This can be very bad news for loved ones or friends that cosigned bail for someone that did this.
It means that they are going to be held responsible for paying the dues that the person who needed the bail bond left.
The collateral property is seized in this situation to recoup the money that was owed on the bail bond. A bail bondsman or the courts will take ownership of this property and unfortunately, you will no longer have a home.
This can be a very real consequence of skipping a bail bond and that is why it is only recommended to put this up if it is your own property. Or, if you have your own assurances to make sure someone will not skip bail.
Get a Bail Bondsman
This is an overview of what happens when you put up collateral property and it gets seized. The main note to take away from here is that the defendant must appear in court for their trial. If they do not do this, then the collateral is forfeited.
If you are considering cosigning alone, make sure that you understand these risks.
Do you need to find a bail bondsman for your case? Get a free consultation with us today.