When someone you care about gets arrested, you want them out of jail as quickly as possible. This often requires you to pay bail.
The person posting bail is called an indemnitor or cosigner. It’s important to understand what your responsibilities are before signing a bond. Here are five things you should know about bail bonds.
They Are a Form of Collateral
Typically, bail bonds Harrisburg PA require some form of collateral to post the bond. This is a way for the bail agent to ensure that their client will attend court proceedings. Collateral can be in the form of a house, car, or other valuable property.
The type of collateral accepted varies from agent to agent. However, some examples include unfettered real estate that does not have a mortgage or lien on it, high-value assets like cars, jewelry, and bank accounts, precious metals like gold coins and bullion, and even weapons such as guns.
The items placed up as collateral will be returned once the defendant has attended all their required court dates and the case has been concluded. Otherwise, the bail bond company will keep the item as their property.
They Are a Form of Security Deposit
Bail is an amount the court sets to ensure a defendant will appear at their trial and pay any fines or penalties decided upon by the courts. Most people charged with a crime cannot afford to post their bail and rely on a bail bond company for assistance. These companies charge a fee (usually 10% or less of the total bond amount) and require loved ones to sign as collateral.
This form of security deposit helps the courts be sure that a person will return to their court dates because if they do not, their family and friends can lose money. This makes it more likely that a person will attend their trials because they do not want to risk losing their property or other assets.
They Are a Form of Loan
Bail bonds are a form of loan that is typically financed through the use of collateral. Those arrested for crimes often do not have the means to pay the full bail amount. To avoid losing their jobs or homes, they enlist the help of a bail bond company.
In return for a fee (the state allows it to be less than 10%) and co-signing an agreement, the bail bond company promises that the accused will meet certain conditions upon release, such as appearing for all scheduled court dates.
If the accused fails to do this, the bail bond agency will lose money that was paid or pledged as collateral and can seize any property signed over to them. This is why it’s important to follow all the terms and conditions of your bond.
They Are a Form of Insurance
Bail bonds are a form of insurance that allows criminal defendants to remain free while they await trial. Typically, defendants put up cash or collateral to guarantee they will show up for court. This process is known as “making bail.”
Putting up cash for bail can be difficult, especially for people who are not wealthy. This is why many people contact a bail bond company for help.
Usually, a third party pays for the bond and pledges property as collateral. A third party also agrees to be responsible for the debt or obligation of the defendant if they fail to comply with their agreement. The defendant may even lose their assets. Bail bonds are a form of insurance, so it is important to understand the risks involved.
They Are a Form of Payment
A bail bond agent will often require some form of collateral to secure the bond and ensure that the accused will appear in court. Typically, this is some form of money, but it can also be a house or car put up as security. Regardless of the type of collateral used, the bail bondsman will usually contact that person before each court date and ask for periodic check-ins to ensure they haven’t skipped a court appearance.
This is why many people choose to work out a payment plan with the bail bondsman rather than paying the full amount upfront. This way, the person doesn’t have to worry about skipping payments, which will result in accrued interest rates. However, this is not always possible and depends on the individual circumstances.