A bail bond is a monetary exchange conducted between an individual or bail agent to secure the release of a defendant. While a similar concept is held across the United States, each state has a unique bail bond system.
In California, when someone is placed under arrest, they are taken in by law enforcement personnel to jail. Once there, they are then put through the process of being fingerprinted, photographed and of course asked to make a statement. During the time between being arrested and attending court, the individual will either have to remain in jail, or they may have the opportunity to be released on bail.
However, this is not possible for everyone. Bail is a financial arrangement made between the court and a bail bond agent that acts on behalf of the defendant. The arrangement allows the defendant to be released from jail in exchange for money until their court date. Here is what to expect when hiring a bail agent.
Obtaining a bail bond
Once the court has set a bail amount, either the defendant or someone acting on their behalf can contact a bail agent to consider their case. To secure the defendants release, the agent will post bail at the court or jail.
After hiring a bail agent and having bail posted, the agent becomes liable for the defendant and will lose the full bail amount to the court in the event their client misses their court date. Because of this, hiring a bail agent requires the defendant to provide collateral to ensure the repayment in the event the bail amount is lost. Collateral can involve property or financial guarantees from the defendant’s friends or family.
After the defendant’s case has been closed, the bail bond is dissolved, and collateral is returned to the defendant or those acting on their behalf.