Bail and bond payments are very controversial in the United States. In 2020 the ACLU estimates that about 630,000 people were incarcerated in the U.S. Human rights advocates claim bail prices are too high for many poor Americans.
Controversy over bail continues to persist in many states across the country. In North Carolina, this is no exception. Many facing criminal charges in the state must post bail or remain in jail for their trial.
But, this does not have to be the case. There are bail bond agents who can help you. Before exploring this solution we will first seek to understand the differences in bail vs. bond.
How are these distinct from one another? How can a bond agent help you? Keep reading to find out!
What is Bail?
Perhaps you are familiar with the concept of bail. Maybe you watch the news and hear about someone bailing a suspected criminal from jail? Many mistakenly believe that paid bail means the criminal won’t serve their sentence. Bail is not a get out of jail free card, nor is it the end of the trial.
The term “bail” refers to an amount of money paid to release a prisoner from jail before the trial. This is not a set amount of money that makes the criminal free to go. Rather, it is simply a deposit put down to ensure the criminal will return. A helpful way to think of bail is as a deposit put down to ensure the defendant returns for the trial.
This brings up another important factor of bail. Technically, the individual is not guilty before the trial. Why is this? They may face criminal charges, but the guilty verdict was not delivered yet.
In the United States, we assume a suspect is innocent until proven guilty. Better known as the presumption of innocence in the court. This means posted bail ensures the defendant can leave jail under the assurance of their bail.
You may leave jail after the posting of your bail. But, bail helps to guarantee the defendant will return. The courts want certainty that they will return to the court on the day of their trial.
Bail is typically refunded at the end of the trial. The refund depends on the fulfillment of the trial and the terms of the agreement. Normally the court will refund the bail payment.
What is a Bond?
A bond is a less well-known and less commonly used term. The concept of bail is not fully understood by most laypeople. Bonds are less understood than bail in the U.S. Many believe they are interchangeable terms.
On the surface, bond payments seem very similar to bail payments. This is because there are several types of bond payments. One of which is known as a cash bond or bail. Bail, as we discussed above, is commonly paid by the defendant to ensure their return for the trial.
But, what is a bond then? Bail is a bond, but only one of several types. A surety bond is the most common and most widely known type of bond.
A surety bond is a deposit made to guarantee the defendant. This payment is made by a bondsman, not by the defendant. The assurance is usually given by payment of a certain percentage of the bond payment. The remainder of the payment is guaranteed by the real estate of the bondsman.
This means they assure the return of the defendant on their own real estate or property. The money put down is non-refundable, and the property is forfeit if the defendant fails to appear.
How Much are Bond and Bail Payments?
A bond is usually more than the price of bail. Bail is typically intended to be put down as a guarantee that the defendant will return on the day of the trial. Bonds are typically more expensive and are applied to more dangerous criminals.
A bond payment essentially makes the bondsman responsible for the defendant. If the defendant fails to appear or fulfill their obligations, the bondsman is responsible.
A bondsman could be a voluntary individual who agrees to make the assurance. Or, the defendant can hire a bond agent to put the deposit and assure their freedom.
They may need to forfeit the property they guaranteed against the behavior of the defendant. Bond payments are usually higher than bail and serve to ensure a more dangerous defendant.
The bondsman may need to guarantee the whole amount or the bond payment. If they have a good credit score and good payment history, they may be able to guarantee the payment. Or, they may be able to promise payments at a monthly payment determined by the court.
Bail VS. Bond
Bonds and bail payments have very similar defining features. But, there are several distinctions. A bond agent fee is considered part of the trial costs. This fee is not refunded at the end of the trial.
In comparison, bail is usually refundable at the end of the trial term. The purpose of a bail payment is primarily to ensure their return to court. A bail bond can also be something as simple as signing a waiver stating you will return.
The distinctions rest primarily on the severity of the crime and the cost of bail. Because a surety bond is typically in the four or five figures zone, most can’t pay it. This is why they either guarantee the payment with real estate or hire a bail bond agent.
Bail VS. Bond and Your Legal Needs
When comparing bail vs. bond, the main factor distinguishing the two is the price. A bail bond agent may be what you need if you find yourself in trouble in Raleigh, North Carolina.
For many facing criminal charges, the bail price is simply too high. There is help available to you, though.
At Raleigh Bail Bonds, we are dedicated to helping you get your freedom. Please contact us today with any questions or concerns! We’re here to help.