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Everything You Need to Know About the Bail Bond Process

Almost Home Bailbond takes pride in our ability to help a defendant’s get out of jail by following a detailed bail bond process diligently. We share our knowledge about this process in our effort to prepare you for your case.

Why Use Bail Bonds

After an arrest, it is almost always an advantage for a defendant to bond out of jail as soon as possible. This bond, once set by the court or a sheriff's deputy within the jail, can be raised by a judge at first appearance. Additionally, the longer a defendant remains in custody, the more difficult it will be for them to assist in their own defense. Once a person is arrested, we can have them released by employing various strategies.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is bail?

The term Bail could be used in several distinct forms:

  1. It may indicate the security-cash or bond-given for the appearance of the defendant.
  2. It may also mean the bondsman (i.e., the person who acts as surety (signer on the bail bond) for the defendant's appearance, and into whose custody the defendant is released).
  3. As a verb, it may refer to the release of the defendant (he was bailed out). The first meaning is the most common and should be employed for clarity.

A competent court can order admission to bail to discharge a defendant from actual custody upon bail. The discharge on bail is accomplished when the bail is submitted—through either an undertaking or deposit—to the court or magistrate of security for the appearance of the defendant before a court for some part of the criminal proceeding.

Bail is evidenced by a bond or recognizance, which as a rule becomes a record of the court. The bond is in the nature of a contract between the state on one side and the defendant and his sureties on the other. The agreement is that the state will release the defendant from custody if the sureties will undertake an oath that the defendant will appear at a specified time and place to answer the charges made against him. If the defendant fails to appear, the sureties become the absolute debtor of the state for the amount of the bond.

Are you always required to use a bail bondsman?

In most State systems, the defendant or any other person may deposit the sum mentioned in the bail order or bail schedule. Cash is accepted in payment of bail deposits. In addition, it is a common practice for each court to adopt a written policy permitting acceptance of checks or money orders upon conditions that tend to assure their validity. Some courts have a maximum amount over which a personal check will not be accepted. Depending upon the jurisdiction, a court may accept government bonds. Please note that some jurisdictions will set a bail order requiring a corporate surety bond—meaning that you can only post bail thru a surety bail bondsman.

What if someone believes that the money to be used to bail someone out is the product of criminal activity?

The judge or a magistrate may stay the release of a defendant if a peace officer or prosecutor files a sworn declaration demonstrating probable cause to believe the source of the consideration, etc. was feloniously obtained, or the judge or magistrate has probable cause to believe that the source was feloniously obtained. This order is commonly known as a Nebbia Hearing or Bail Sufficiency Hearing. If probable cause exists, the defendant then bears the burden by a preponderance of evidence to prove that no part of the source was obtained through criminal activity. A defendant who prevails must be released on issuance of a bail bond as specified.

What is the purpose of bail?

The purpose of bail is to assure the attendance of the defendant when his or her appearance is required in court, whether before or after conviction. Bail is neither a means of punishing a defendant nor a suggestion of revenue to the government.

Is bail a matter of right?

Although the right to bail has constitutional recognition in the prohibition against excessive bail, it is not always a matter of right. However, with certain exceptions, a defendant charged with a criminal offense shall be released on bail.
When faced with evident facts, or significant presumption of guilt, persons charged with capital crimes are exempted from the right to release on bail. However, a defendant charged with a capital crime is entitled to a bail hearing in the trial court to determine the severity of presumption of guilt or the credibility of presented evidence.
A capital crime is an offense severe enough that a statute makes it potentially punishable by death or life imprisonment, even if the prosecutor/government has agreed not to seek the death penalty. It is presumed that the risk of flight of the defendant is too significant when he or she is facing death or life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Is the public safety issue factored into the decision to either admit a defendant to bail, or to deny bail?

Bail can be denied in certain noncapital cases based upon a finding of substantial likelihood of harm to others. When the facts are evident, or the presumption of guilt is great, bail may be denied in the following instances:

  • In felony cases involving acts of violence or sexual assault offenses on another person, if the court finds that there is a substantial likelihood on clear and convincing evidence that the release of the accused would result in great bodily harm to others.

  • In a felony case, if the court finds on clear and convincing evidence that the accused has threatened another with great bodily harm and that there is a substantial likelihood that the accused would carry out the threat if released. The requirement of findings based on clear and convincing evidence implies that a hearing will be held on the issue.

  • If a substantial likelihood of public harm or danger to the community exists, it would be determined based on the specific circumstances of the case, the testimony of witnesses, and prior history of the defendant. The decision to grant or deny bail is subject to review on a court-petitioned motion by the defendant.

 

What is considered by the court in fixing the amount of the bail?

The amount of the bail is first and foremost within the scope and discretion of the judge or magistrate—with only two general limitations:

  • First: The purpose of bail is not to penalize or punish the defendant, but only to secure the appearance of the accused, and it should be set with that in mind.
  • Second: Excessive bail, not warranted by the circumstances or the evidence at hand, is not only improper but also a violation of constitutional rights. In fixing the amount of the bail, the court takes into consideration the seriousness of the charge, the defendant's previous criminal record, and the probability of the defendant appearing at the trial or hearing.

Additionally, if public safety is an issue, the court may make an inquiry where it may consider factors to the bail amount including the following:

  • Allegations of injury to the victim
  • Danger to the public and/or to the defendant him/herself
  • Threats to the victim or a witness
  • The use of a deadly weapon
  • Defendant's use or possession of controlled substances

A judge or magistrate setting bail in other than a scheduled or usual amount must state on the record the reasons and address the issue of threats made against a victim or a witness. The court must also consider evidence offered by the detained person regarding ties to the community and ability to post bond. The bail amount set by the court must be within the minimum—not the maximum—range amount of bail that would reasonably assure the defendant's appearance.

Does the bail bond continue eternally, can you get it returned?

When the bail has served its purpose, the surety will be exonerated (i.e., released from the obligation). Exoneration normally occurs on the return of the defendant to custody or when the proceeding is terminated in some other way. After conviction, the defendant appears for a sentencing hearing. If sentenced to jail confinement or imprisonment, the defendant is committed to the custody of the sheriff, and the liability of the surety is discharged.

What if the defendant is sentenced to probation?

When a defendant who is convicted and given probation is released from custody, his or her bail bond must be exonerated as a matter of law.

What are inmate electronic monitoring and GPS tracking devices?

Inmate GPS tracking involves real-time, wireless identification of a defendant's location and their surrounding areas. Electronic GPS monitoring (ELMO) is a tool that bail bond companies use to track high-risk defendants. The courts are also more and more utilizing ELMO systems when setting special conditions of release on bond.

Other Services

Warrant Checks:

Through our warrant checks, you can learn in advance if there is a pending warrant of arrest for you or a loved one. This service affords you precious time to prepare and complete your bond paperwork before an arrest as well as arrange for a self surrender.

Through self-surrender, you leave a better impression on the court. Additionally, you can avoid being arrested at a time that is more inconvenient than necessary.

 

Escorted Self-Surrenders:

Call us, so that we can check your warrant status. After, fill out the online bail bond form, pay your bond premium, and meet us at our office or the county jail. We will surrender you to the sheriff and post your bond at the same time—saving you hours in jail time.