What is a Bail Bond?

There are numerous misconceptions about bail bonds. Some people take it for granted that upon arrest, one must post a bond; for reasons unknown to them. Some seem to believe it is used as punishment for getting into trouble; as it appears that the more serious the crime, the higher the bond, which is basically accurate.

The real purpose of bond is to ensure that the arrested person appears in court when set to do so and return to court until such time the case is disposed of, which often takes many months or over a year. It is an archaic notion arising from an era in which outlaws would bust into town, get into trouble, do damage to persons and property and leave town before they could be tried for their transgressions. It seems strange that a $500 bail bond today would discourage someone from disrupting his/her life and move out of state or leave the country if inclined to do so. Nonetheless, the concept of bond is well grounded as part of the criminal justice system. Upon disposition of the case, the bond money is returned by the Sheriff’s Department, in full. This, however, may take several weeks or more.

When one is arrested, he/she is arraigned before a Judge/Magistrate and bond is set at some monetary figure. In order to be released from jail until the case is filed and disposed of, the charged party must put up cash in the full amount of the bond, or use a surety, (a bail bondsman or in some instances, a lawyer who is allowed to post bail bond). A one time payment of about ten percent (10%) or more of the bond amount is customary; of which nothing is returned to the accused upon disposition of the case. Bail bondsmen often require the defendant to check in by person, or by phone, periodically while the bond is in force. When a defendant hires a lawyer it is good idea to immediately provide the bail bondsman with the name and phone number of the lawyer. This is a good idea for two reasons.

1. it shows that you are taking your arrest seriously and intend to get it behind you at some point, with the assistance of your Dallas bail bonds attorney; and,
2. if, for any reason, the bail bondsman is unable to locate the defendant, it can call the attorney who may be able to allay their concerns by providing a new phone number or address of the defendant.

Just as it is helpful to a defendant to co-operate with counsel, it is also useful to stay on good terms with the bondsman.

Bail bonds are also used at times in conjunction with tickets (Class C Misdemeanors). As there is no jail time punishment associated with ticket cases, the bond money, if in cash, is mot useful in being applied to fines and court costs, if impose.

There are numerous other bond issues not addressed above such as warrants issued and bond set prior to arrest, the consequences of a “bond forfeiture”, a bondsman “going off the bond”; reduction of bond converting a cash bond into a surety bond and a PR bond. Many of these situations require that an attorney get involved. If you, or anyone you know, finds himself/herself in such a situation, call me for a free telephone consultation.