If you have been accused of a crime, a bail bond is your ticket to freedom while you are awaiting trial. However, not all bail bonds are created equally. Take a moment to learn about the different types. This can help you determine what you need to pay, whether you’ll get your money back, and what you can do if you don’t have enough money.
- Federal Bail Bonds: Federal crimes are usually more intense, and thus, federal bails bonds are usually more expensive. The amount of the bail bond is dependent on a number of factors, but these bonds cannot usually be paid by the individual, given their cost. A bail bondsman comes in really handy for federal bail bonds.
- Cash Bonds: If you can, you are able to put on the money for the bail right away in cash. This is called a cash bond, and a bail bondsman is not involved. The good thing about a cash bail bond is that you will have the money returned to you as long as you show up in court – or you can have the money put toward fines. However, bail can be quite expensive, so in most cases, it is impossible to pay for the bail bond in cash.
- Immigration Bail Bonds: Sometimes, the crime you commit can involve more than one country or involve you in the United States even though you are legally from another country. When this is that case, your bail bond is called an “immigration bail bond.” It is harder to even get bail in these situations, and usually, the cost of an immigration bail bond is extremely high.
- Property Bail Bonds: If you own property, you may be able to put that up for collateral instead of paying for your bail in cash. In most cases, the property must be completely owned by you (ie, you can’t still be paying the mortgage). The property value usually has to be much higher than the cost of the bail bond itself. That way, if you don’t show up for court and they sell your property, they’ll be able to make the money back, even then I have to sell it quickly below true market value.
There are many bail bonds companies and private bail bondsmen who are willing to front the money to pay for your bail. However, keep in mind that they collect a fee and, thus, you will not get your share of the money back. Usually, you have to put forth 10%. When you show up in court, they return that 10%, but to the bail bondsman. That’s why they are willing to risk the rest of the money – the financial rewards are great.
Understanding the bail bonds system is crucial if you are accused of a crime. If you don’t make bail, you’ll have to wait in jail for your court date, and that could take weeks or months in some cases since the court system is always backed up with cases. Your best option is to pay the bail yourself or to find a bail bondsman to sponsor you.