Many people have at least a general idea of what bail bonds are and what they do. But they may not know how they work and what the various types of bail are.
However, this is important information to know. Especially if you or a loved one is looking to post bail. It’s extremely helpful to know what your options are.
And if you live in North Carolina, you may have to know the difference between secured and unsecured bail. What is unsecured bail and how does it differ from secured bail? Continue reading and we’ll walk you through everything you need to know.
How Bail Works
When someone is arrested, they are detained and held in jail. They generally remain there until their sentencing. However, that person will also have a bail hearing.
At this hearing, the judge will set an amount for the person’s bail. If the person doesn’t pay the bail, they will have to wait in jail until their court date. If they do pay the bail, then they are allowed to live outside of jail until their court date.
Many people who are arrested struggle to afford their bail. Luckily, there is an alternative option for paying bail. The person who was arrested can have a loved one contact a bail agent.
When contacting a bail agent, it’s important that you give as much information as possible. Make sure to provide the defendant’s full name, booking number, the jail location, and the charges against them.
Most bail agents are available all day, every day and will answer the phone no matter what time it is. In order to utilize their services, the bail agent will typically charge you 15% of whatever the bail costs. You won’t get this money back.
How a Secured Bail Bond Works
When using a secured bail bond, in addition to the fee, you will also have to provide collateral. Property like a car, house, art, or jewelry can be considered collateral. Collateral is collected as a form of insurance and it helps to guarantee that the defendant will show up for court.
After the premium has been paid and the collateral has been collected, the bail agent will post the bond. The defendant will then be released from jail. Depending on how busy the jail is, the release could take only a short amount of time or several hours.
After the defendant has been released from jail, they are obligated to show up for all court proceedings. They’ll also have to meet all of the requirements that have been set by the bail agent.
If the defendant doesn’t abide by the agent’s conditions, or they don’t show up to court, the bail agent will be burdened with paying the full bail amount. The bail agent will then locate the defendant and bring them back to jail.
The agent can also keep the collateral that was signed over to them earlier. However, as long as the defendant complies with all of the bail bond agent’s conditions and shows up to court, then there shouldn’t be any problems.
Whether the defendant is found to be guilty or innocent is irrelevant here. Either way, the bond will be exonerated or completed after the trial is over.
How Unsecured Bail Works
Unsecured bail is similar to secured bail except with one key difference. With unsecured bail, the bail isn’t backed by any real property. It’s also not secured by cash or a note by a bail bondsman.
Many people see this as a preferred type of bail but it’s also harder to come by. In this situation, a bail amount is stated. However, the defendant is free to go simply on his word that he’ll make all of his necessary court appearances.
If he fails to appear in court, he will be arrested again and his bail will be raised. There are several reasons why unsecured bail may be a better option for the court as opposed to secured bail.
A big reason is that it costs money to keep people in jail. For example, Herman Smith was arrested and charged with a misdemeanor in January of 2019. He could not afford the $500 bail and so spent the next five days in jail.
According to the state Attorney General’s estimations, Smith’s five-day stint in prison cost taxpayers $350. Smith also missed work while he was in jail. Bail reform advocates claim that expanding unsecured bail can save taxpayers money and help out those who can’t afford bail.
However, we can also see how someone who is out on unsecured bail can easily skip town. And they would have less to lose than someone who put up collateral, such as their house.
Because of this, a judge usually takes several factors into account before administering unsecured bail. They will look at aspects such as the defendant’s standing in the community, if they have past offenses, and if they seem like a flight risk.
Juveniles tend to have better odds of being released from jail without having to pay bail. But their parents often have to sign documents stating that their child will appear at all of their court dates.
Understanding What is Unsecured Bail and How it Differs from Secured Bail
By understanding what is unsecured bail and how it’s different from secured bail, you can make more informed decisions for yourself and your loved ones. The legal system can be difficult to navigate. But you don’t have to figure it out all on your own.
If you or a loved one is looking to acquire bail bonds, contact us today and see how we can help you!