Understanding the Different Types of Available Bail Bonds

available bail bonds

It’s the middle of the night and due to a wrong move, you find yourself in jail and maybe facing charges. One of the first thoughts to come to mind is wondering how to find all the available bail bonds. We rarely think of bail bondsmen, but if ever incarcerated, we probably immediately call lawyers and bail bond companies. However, when in a pinch, it’s important to know that there are many different types of bail bond companies, and knowing which one to call may shorten your jail time, and fortunately, most provide 24 hours bail services

What Are the Different Bail Bond Types?

There are several types of available bail bonds used by bail bondsmen to secure defendants’ release from jail. These are the most prevalent bond types:

1. Citation release type bail bonds

These available bail bonds do not require custody or payment. Upon issuing a citation by an arresting officer, the defendant agrees to appear in court later. Citation release bonds are usually issued for minor infractions such as traffic violations and speeding tickets.

Arrest examples for citation release bail bond – Traffic violations and speeding tickets where the arresting officer issues a citation, ordering the defendant to appear before a judge on a certain date. Other minor offenses appropriate for citation release bonds are:

    • Disorderly conduct
    • Petty theft
    • Speeding vehicle
    • First-offense DUI without causing an accident
    • Domestic battery

2. Personal recognizance release bonds

The personal recognizance release bond is a type of bail bond without requiring money to be posted or paid to the court. The defendant signs a written promise to appear in court on a specific date and may have certain conditions to adhere to before the court date.

Arrest examples for personal recognizance bonds – When a defendant is arrested for an offense other than a capital offense, they may be released on their recognizance (OR). Examples of when personal recognizance may be used are A. when a defendant has been charged with a crime and is not yet convicted or B. when the defendant has a low risk of being a threat to the community or taking flight.

3. Surety bail bonds

Surety bail bonds require either the defendant or another party to pay bail bondsmen a percentage of the bail, and then the bondsman pays the full amount due to the jail or court. The bail bondsman charges a fee for any services and can require some form of collateral from the defendant or co-signer. If the defendant fails to appear in court, the bail bondsman is held liable and responsible for the full amount of the bond.

Arrest examples for surety bail bonds – Various types of arrests that may call for surety bonds are:

    • Misdeanor charges
    • Felony charges
    • DUI charges
    • Traffic violations

4. Cash bail bond

As the name implies, cash bonds require either the defendant or responsible party to pay the full bail amount to the jail or court in cash. When the defendant appears in court, the cash bond amount paid is refunded to the payee. However, if the defendant does not show up for their court date, it will be forfeited to the court. The most common methods to pay for cash bonds in person or online are:

    • Cash
    • Debit card
    • Credit card

Arrest examples of cash bail bonds – Cash bail bonds may be required by the courts for various reasons, including:

    • Failure to show before a court
    • Arrest on out of jurisdictional warrant
    • Failure to pay a fine for a previous case

5. Property bail bond

A property, or secured bond, is a type of bail bond when the court is given a security interest in a property. Real estate is the most common collateral, such as a home or a vehicle, and is equal to the worth of the total bail amount. The security interest provides the legal possession of the property pledged as collateral to the securing party, which may be the court on the condition the defendant pledges the property does not show up for court and forfeits the property.

Arrest examples of property bail bonds – Property, or security, bonds are used for many common arrests, such as:

    • Arrest for another crime
    • No-contact order violations
    • Testing positive for drugs or alcohol
    • Failure to appear

6. Appearance or Federal bail bond

A bail bond used in federal court is an appearance bond. These federal bail bonds are typically used to free defendants from federal holding facilities after a federal judge establishes the bail amount. An appearance bond requires a CR-04 form or an Affidavit of Surety, which requires a responsible party’s signature. An Affidavit of Surety is required to obligate the signee to cover the cost of the bail if the defendant fails to show up for the court date or breaks the conditions of the bail release.

Arrest examples for appearance or federal bail bonds – Appearance bail bonds are only issued for federal offenses, including:

    • Drug trafficking
    • Defacing federal property
    • Tax evasion

7. Immigration bail bond

Available bail bonds for immigration that guarantee the presence of an individual accused of a court violation are immigration bail bonds. Immigration bail bonds can vary based on the history of the individual being bailed and the severity of the issue. An immigration bail bond typically comprises three parties, the Surety/Agent, Homeland Security, and the Principal (also known as the defendant, alien, or respondent).

The Surety Agent assures Homeland Security the agent will be present for every Notice to Appear (NTA). The Indemnitor, or co-signer of the bond, guarantees the bail bondsman that the alien will attend all required court appearances and pays a bond fee to a private company or Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Arrest examples for immigration bail bonds- There are two types of immigration bonds available based upon specific circumstances. The two bail bond types are:

    1. Delivery bail bond –Delivery bonds are available in situations where a person has been arrested on active warrants through Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
    1. Voluntary departure bond –The voluntary departure bond permits an alien to leave the United States voluntarily for a specific amount of time.

8. Emergency bail bonds

Available ball bonds written anytime, day or night, are called emergency bail bonds. They can often be written on the spot for immediate release from jail for conditions like diabetes or mental issues and have valid reasons for quick release. Contacting a bail bond company to write an emergency bail bond often brings immediate release from incarnation.

Contacting bail bond companies and letting them know someone needs immediate release from jail may bring the bail bondsman directly to the facility, even at times providing transportation for the defendant. It should be mentioned the request is an emergency service. It can be more expensive, but different options are available for financing emergency bonds. Contact a bail bondsman first for the right available bail bonds for your situation.

Arrest examples for emergency bonds –Typically, emergency bail bonds are written for non-violent or non-serious misdemeanors and felonies. However, various states’ jurisdiction can change dramatically. For example, California treats non-violent and non-serious felonies and misdemeanors are eligible for zero bail under the Emergency Bail Schedule.

Is a bail bond attorney a criminal lawyer?

Although bail bond attorneys are not necessarily criminal lawyers, they are beneficial in court for bail bond hearings and other court procedures. During a bail hearing, the defense and prosecutor can discuss setting available bail bonds with the judge. A criminal lawyer working with the bail bondsman to represent legal representation while establishing courtroom procedures, including setting the bail, may be beneficial. When being charged with a serious crime, it is advisable to have a criminal lawyer present at the court proceedings.

How to find a good bail bondsman?

When selecting a bail bondsman, and you hope you never have to, there are some questions you should ask yourself before selecting a bail agent. Also, this is a time not to decide based on internet selections other than selecting a few to investigate further, then physically inspect their office locations and determine if you would like to do business with this company.

Some of the questions to consider when choosing a company for one of the many available bail bonds should include:

    • Does the bail bondsman dress appropriately and act professionally?
    • Do they possess a current bail license?
    • Do the bail bond companies have a business office?
    • Are they rated by the Better Business Bureau?
    • Do they come recommended by someone you know?

Lesser known facts about bail bond companies

You rarely, if ever, think about a bail bond company and all their available bail bonds until you find yourself needing one. Then a bail bond company may be critical to you. Although issuing bail bonds seems straightforward, it is a more complex mechanism than it appears.

These are some lesser-known facts about bail bond companies that may be important if you ever need their services.

    1. Bail bonds are not easily accessible everywhere –Although bail bonds are easily assessable in most of the United States, some areas restrict their access. In states with stringent state laws for private lending, like Kentucky, Wisconsin, and Nebraska, bail bond access can be much more restrictive.
    2. Bail bonds do not always require money –A popular belief is that all bail bonds require money to complete a transaction. A defendant may be released on their recognizance depending on the judge’s opinion. Or, approve applying collateral, like real estate or a vehicle, instead of cash for the bond.
    3. Bail bondsmen have fewer restrictions –Most privatized lending services, in which bail bonds are not classified as in the traditional service, have rigorous federal restrictions placed on them. Since companies providing available bail bonds are not considered privatized lending companies, they are not tied to the federal government’s restrictions. The classification of not being a privatized lender allows bail bond companies to cross state lines to pursue clients who have defaulted on the bond.
    4. Bail bonds are not honored in all countries –Interestingly, very few countries have adopted bail bond laws. Currently, only two countries honor bail bonds, the United States and the Philippines.

Top bail bond scams for being alert

Although the bail bond industry is reputable with many professional workers, it is like any other and can have scam operators attacking it. Some of the worse scams to be watchful for are the following:

    • Bail bondsman cold calls –You might receive a cold call from a person representing themselves as a bail bond agent informing you that a friend or family member is incarcerated and needs bail. The helpful bail bond agent informs you they can help and is ready to begin the bond process on the phone with some information. This call was probably a scam, and you should only initiate a bond process on the phone once verifying the friend’s status. Also, check with local authorities to verify if your friend is incarcerated.
  • Bail bondsmen solicit at jail locations –A bail bondsman knows where potential clients are at the jail. But so much pressure was placed on detainees and their families by bail agents for their business mandates, and restrictions were placed to prevent this predatory practice. If you see a bail bondsman soliciting at the jail, they may be a bad choice and probably break the law too.
  • Work only with a bail bond agent contract –Never proceed with a bail bondsman without a signed contract or agreement. The contract is designed to protect both parties, and you should only enter into service and payment with a bail agent after the contract details are clearly explained.
  • Fake errors in the bail process – If you get a cold call from a purported bail bondsman and are told there was an error made in the bail system that needs to be resolved immediately, or there can be dire consequences. The biggest tell for this type of scam is that you must immediately initiate the available bail bonds process on the phone to remedy the situation. Never authorize a bond over the phone without verification of the circumstances.

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