question.jpgIn Criminal Law

How is bail paid, and what is a bail bondsman?

Bail can be paid, primarily, in three ways: Pony up the full amount in cash (checks and VISA may also be accepted). Conversely, you can enroll the services of a bail bondsman. A bail bondsman will pay your entire bail, but you’ll give up a premium – usually around 10 percent, which isn’t refundable. And if the suspect fails to appear in court, that poor bail bondsman is going to lose the entire bail payment, which is why a bond seller will ask that you put down collateral, such as your house or car, to cover the bond seller’s loss in the even that you skip out. And if you are a high-risk, and you don’t have collateral, you can bet that you’ll have a difficult time obtaining the services of a bail bondsman. I’d advise, however, that if you can afford it – paying bail outright is a better option than using a bail bond seller — if you make all your court appearances, you’ll get your cash back whether you’re found guilty or not; with a bond seller, no matter the outcome of the case, you’ll lose the 10 percent premium.

In some instances, the court may help you out by offering its own version of bond-selling services, allowing you to put down 10 percent and collateral, but in this case, you get the 10 percent refunded if you make all your court appearances.

Finally, in some other instances, you can simply deposit with the court personal property worth the amount of bail.