There are currently over 36,000 people on the criminal justice system books in North Carolina alone.
With arrests occurring on an almost daily basis, you may have some concern about what happens if a loved one ends up on the wrong side of the law.
While you hope not to deal with this stress-inducing predicament, it’s important to understand your options if an arrest occurs close to home. One thing you need to understand is bail vs bond. These terms are closely related, but there is a difference between bail and bond.
The Difference Between Bail vs Bond
Before you make decisions about getting a loved one out of jail, make sure you understand all your options. It might be an expensive process. Make sure you understand bail, bond, and the connection between the two terms.
After the arrest of a loved one, there are a couple options. If you cannot produce the necessary funds or bail is revoked, they will stay in jail until their court date. If someone is able to pay bail, your loved one can be released provided they show up to all court dates. If funds are not readily available, a bondsperson may be able to provide a percentage of the bail to allow for release.
So how do you determine your options?
What Is Bail?
After an arrest, an amount is set based on the severity of the crime, the flight risk involved, past record, and other points. This amount is determined either at the time of arrest or during a bail hearing. The amount set is the bail amount.
This bail amount is what’s required for the release of the defendant before their court date. The bail amount acts as insurance towards a temporary release for the defendant. As long as the person shows up to all court dates and pays the bail, you will receive a refund on the amount spent.
If the defendant flees or refuses to show up to court dates, the court requires all further bail paid immediately and may add other fees. This adds an incentive to the person paying bail to make sure to show up when required.
But what happens if the bail amount is too expensive for you to pay up front?
An Unsecured Bond
When the bail amount is too steep, there are different types of bonds available. The two main types of bonds are secured and unsecured bonds.
An unsecured bond is the least common type of bond for release from jail. With this bond type, the defendant signs a waiver promising to show up to all court dates. After signing the waiver, the system temporarily releases the defendant without paying bail.
If they show up to the required court dates, no fee will be required. If they do not show up, the full bail amount will be required immediately.
The chances of receiving this type of bond are slim. More than likely, you will have to set up a secured bond.
A Secured Bond
A secured bond is an upfront percentage of the bail amount paid against release. This can be done through a cash amount or by using a property as collateral. If cash is used, the bond amount is usually 15% of the original bail amount. This percentage can differ on a case-by-case situation, however.
The easiest way to secure a bail bond is to go through a bail bonds agent. By going through a licensed bondsperson, you can ensure the bond amount can be paid upfront while setting up a payment option. The bonds agent acts as a loan officer in this way.
The bond office will set up the payment process with the courts and pay the bond amount up front. The person acting as the responsible party for the bail will then set up a payment plan with the bonds office.
While the amount loaned by the bonds office will not be paid back, no other fees will be required as long as all release requirements are followed. The bond office promises the full payment of any bail amounts required.
If the defendant shows up to all court dates, the only fee required will be the completed payment of the bond insured by the bonds office. If the person flees or refuses to show up, the situation becomes more expensive.
Any refusal to comply with release requirements will require full payment of the bail. While the bonds agent will ensure this payment is made, they will require the person responsible for the loan to pay all bond payments, all remaining bail, and other fees necessary.
If you decide to use a bonds agent, it’s important to make sure your loved one shows up to all necessary court dates.
How Do You Get Your Money Back?
While you will not receive a refund on any bond paid through a bonds agent, you can recoup other bail and fee requirements. To make sure you get other money back, it’s up to you as the responsible party to make sure your loved one complies with the court.
The best way to make sure you get your money back is to keep up with all court dates and other requirements. Make sure your loved one does not leave the state, does not get arrested while out on bail, or any other rules placed on the bail.
By getting someone to follow the requirements placed on bail, you can cut the out-of-pocket cost to yourself. Also, make sure the bonds agent holding the secured bond has all the necessary documents and payment information so no other fees come up.
Finding a Bail Bondsperson
If you find yourself in need of a bonds agent, make sure you understand everything there is to know about the bail vs bond process. If you need more information or need to contact someone for help with the bond process, check out our bonds service process.