Explain Bail and Bond to me please...

I was watching TV and it was reported that a person accused of a crime paid a one million dollar bond and got out of jail.

All my life I had heard about bail and bond but never really understood it. So a few questions:

  1. Where did the concept of paying money to get out of jail come from?

  2. Is the purpose to allow the courts to hold onto a big chunk of the person’s money so he or she won’t flee town?

  3. If I bail someone out of jail, when (if ever), do I get that money back? After the trial?

  4. What happens to paid bail? Is it help and gains interest or what?

Hope you can help…

The snozberries taste like snozberries!

First of all, everybody is presumed innocent until proven quilty. The only way someone can be held in jail before being found quilty is if there is a risk of flight or danger to the public. If the risk is danger to the public, a judge can order the accused be jailed until trial. If the risk is flight, than the judge can ask the accused to put up a deposit (bail) that is only refunded when he/she shows up for the trial or reports to prison if found quilty. The court only keeps the money if the accused runs away.

Bail bondsmen are like banks in that they loan the accused the money needed for bail. The accused puts up his body as collateral. If the accused defaults (runs) on the loan, the bondsmen have every right to track him down and turn him over to the court, which refunds the bail money.

It’s more complicated than that, but those are the basics.

They get their money back after the trial, right?

It’s bail as in the old song, “Bail, bail, bail your boat.”

And it’s bond as in “Bond. James Bond.”

It depends on who posted the bail and the result of the trial. If the defendant uses his own money, is found guilty, and has to pay a fine and court costs, usually the bail is applied to the fine and court costs. If there is any left after that, it is returned to the defendant.

If the bail is posted by someone other than the defendant, such as the defendant’s mother, then mom gets the money back in whole, assuming her son the defendant showed up for the trial.

Right. I was a bit unclear about that, wasn’t I? The bail is returned after the accused is either aquitted or taken into custody by the dept. of corrections.

To complete the thought, bondsmen will take a percentage of the bail as collateral on the loan. Thus, for instance, on $1,000,000.00 bail, the bondsman may require assigning over to him as collateral something like $100,000.00. This might be money, it might be a lein on a house, etc.

As I understand bail and bond, your bail is one amount, and bond is another. If a judge releases you on bail, you need to put up the full amount. Sometimes you may be released on bond, which is a percentage of the bail. For example, bail is set at $1,000,000.00, or $100,000.00 bond.
Bail (or bond) is also held until the trial is over.

Then we’ll turn our tommy guns
on the screaming ravaged nuns
and the peoples voice will be the only sound.
-P. Sky

Most bail bondsmen that I’ve ever dealt with require the defendant (or someone) to come up with 10%. Provided the defendant shows up for court, that 10% is what the bondsman makes for doing the deal.

Relating to Nicky’s post, I know that there’s an OR (Own Recognisence) bond which you don’t have to pay anything. There’s also another type (I, maybe?) that you only have to pay half. Just being a bit more specific.

If you skip and leave the bail bondsman holding the bag he/she can send bounty hunters after you who don’t seem to be held to the letter of the law the same way law officers are.
Now, a dirty little bail bondsman secret…
The Extra Interest!!!
Say you get your bail set at $100,000. The bondsman will put up the money when you come up with your 10%…or $10,000 which the bondsman keeps.
You’re back on the streets, free until your trial.
A person who works for the bondsman will be back in court in a day or two and request a reduction of bail for EVERYBODY they’ve bailed out.
And on a regular basis some of those bail amounts will, indeed, be reduced.
Let’s say your $100,000 bail is reduced to $50,000. The representative will collect the overage of $50,000 and return to the office.
Your payment of $10,000–which represented 10% at the time of the first bail hearing and which you agreed to pay for services is now worth a little more than 10%.
Cite: This is according to a friend of mine who is a magistrate.

I’m glad someone raised this topic. I’ve always thought it outrageous that I can be arrested, charged,and held in jail untill I paid a non-refundable 10% of the bail to the bail-bond sheisters. This, and the necessity of hireing a lawyer to defend myself, seems to me as great a punishment as if I were merely hauled into court by the police and fined without trial with the stipulation that the conviction not appear in court records. Same affect. I’m closer to the poorhouse.

The philosophers have only interpreted the world in various ways; the point, however, is to change it. (Karl Marx, 1845)

You would, perhaps, prefer to rot in jail unable to do anything between arrest and trial?
Bail exists to remedy the ‘injustice’ of holding someone while a trial is pending. By substituting the love of money for the bars of a jail, you get a chance to be free during the interim. Bail bonds exist to take care of situations where the bail amount, to be sufficient to hold you to your promise to reappear at the trial, is more than you can be expected to pony up on short notice. We’re lucky someone wants to make a living dealing with arrested people, or many more people wouldn’t be able to meet bail.

Mostly on target so far.

When you are arrested, you are in the custody of the cop who arrested you. Until the charges are disposed of, you have to be in someone’s custody. That can be your own self. When the judge figures that you’ve lived in town for 60 years and are charged with disorderly conduct, you’re not likely to head for the Mexican border, so he releases you on your own recognizance – i.e., in your own custody.

A child under arrest might be released to his parents’ custody – they’re responsible for making sure he’s back in court.

You’re never committed to jail before being found guilty; you’re remanded to the sheriff’s custody. Since the sheriff runs the jail, he keeps you there. It’s within his rights to have you do whatever he feels safe to permit, e.g., run errands outside the jail facility, take you home to dinner with Aunt Bee, or whatever, but he’s responsible for you to the court, so he’s within his rights to lock you up.

With certain exceptions (e.g., premeditated murder, Unabombing), you’re always entitled to bail. It can be set extremely high for serious offenses, but it has to be at least a possibility.

In North Carolina, there’s something called “unsecured bail” – which apparently consists in you guaranteeing to pay the amount of your bail if you don’t show.

Bail bondsmen post your bail with the court. They charge you a nonrefundable fee, usually 10% of the bail, for doing so. A bond is simply the physical thing that guarantees the bail, such as a document in the proper form from the bail bondsman to the sheriff or court.

New York instituted a neat little twist to this whole thing – if you are released on bail, they keep 10% for processing costs when it comes time to refund your bail. I’d love to see this challenged in Federal court.

This appears to be one of the areas where the Canadian law is different. We don’t have bondsmen who offer bail money on a “for- profit” basis - in fact, it’s a criminal offence to offer to post bond for someone else on a purely commercial basis. You have to have some personal connection to the accused.

As well, we don’t usually have money bails - either you are a flight risk/danger and are held pending trial, or you’re released on conditions. A Crown prosecutor I know had her first order of cash bail last summer, and she’d been working in the Crown office for 5 years at that point.

and the stars o’erhead were dancing heel to toe

Some of you may recall I started a similar thread last summer - got some very helpful replies. The thread is Bail & Bounty Hunters - for Real?

and the stars o’erhead were dancing heel to toe