If you, or someone you love, have ever been in trouble with the law, you know how overwhelming it can all be. From the laws, to process and even the language itself, there is a lot to take in and understand. A bail bonds agent in Tuscaloosa speaks this language every day and has some helpful tips on commonly used terms you may have heard and how to understand the language of bail bonds.
The first important word to know is Bail. This is a dollar amount set by the court required for release from jail. This is to help ensure the defendant shows up for their next court appearance.
This term is often confused as bail, but they are, indeed, different. A bail bond is an agreement signed by the defendant stating that they promise to appear at all assigned court appearances. You can opt to pay the amount of bail in full yourself. If you can’t afford to, you can hire a bail bond agent to pay only a percentage of what is due.
The court may decide that further assurance that the defendant will appear in court is necessary. In those cases, they set forth additional conditions the defendant must meet while they are released such as surrendering a passport, steady employment, or similar commitments that make sure they appear before the court again at their appointed time.
If the defendant should fail to appear at their appointed time, the court may decide to issue a directive ordering the arrest or detainment of the defendant. Often, bail is denied for the second arrest.
If paying bail through a bail bondsman in Tuscaloosa, a bond premium will be the percentage the defendant must pay a bail bond agent to secure a bond. The fee is non-refundable and goes directly to the agent to help cover their expenses. For instance, if the bail is set to $1,000 and the bond premium is 10%, the fee is $100.
If you are unable to pay the full amount of the bail, bonds agents require non-cash assets equal to or greater than the total amount of bail due. These assets are forfeited should the defendant fail to appear in court at their scheduled time. Items such as cars, jewelry, or property are often used as collateral.
Forfeiture is used when the defendant fails to appear, and the court decides to demand the full amount of bail from the bail bondsman. Any collateral promised with the bail bond agent is to be surrendered to cover the bail.
An Indemnitor is any other person who signs the bond with the defendant and is promising to ensure the defendant will appear in court. In more common terms, it’s a co-signer.
If the defendant is denied bail or cannot secure a bond through a bail agent, they will be held in jail until their appointed court appearance.