Bail Bond Basics

When someone is arrested and charged for a crime, they’re entered into the police record system and must wait for the judge to set bail. Defendants are ordered to pay bail bonds so that they can return to their communities until their trial starts. Bail is money or other property deposited with or promised to a court to persuade the judge to release a defendant from jail, with the understanding that the defendant will return to court for trial, or forfeit the bail money paid. In instances where the defendant or their family members or friends can’t afford bail, they can hire a bail bond agent, or bondsman, who gives those funds to the court on behalf of the defendant to pay their bail.

Bail can be posted any time after the bail hearing, and the payment can be made during the court clerk’s business hours, or at the jail in the evening. Either facility will issue a receipt as proof of payment.

Although the defendant has been released after posting bail, their status is contingent on making their court date. If they fail to appear in court, the judge will schedule a forfeiture hearing and issue an arrest warrant. At that point, the defendant is given the opportunity to explain why he or she missed their court appointment. If they don’t show up to the forfeiture hearing, or don’t have a viable excuse as to why they couldn’t make it, the court will keep the bond funds.

A bail agent posts the bail on behalf of the defendant. They charge a non-refundable 10 percent premium of the bail fee, which is a state-regulated rate. If the defendant doesn’t show up to their court date, the agent is responsible for arresting them, and bringing him or her to court. Depending on the state, the agent can hire a bounty hunter to find and arrest the defendant. Once he or she is located, the agent is entitled to bring a civil lawsuit against the defendant to recover the bail money.

Every state has their own bail guidelines and laws. In New Mexico, the bail agency must charge the non-refundable 10 percent premium rate in accordance with the New Mexico Department of Insurance.

For more information about how bail bonds work, contact Gerald Madrid Bail Bonds today!