Bail Bonds FAQs
How Does The Bail Bond Process Work?
First off, Posting a Bail Bond in Indiana varies from County to County. Local Judges set the amount of Bail required to be posted based on the charges filed against the person in jail. This amount is typically stated or described as amount of “Surety”.
Posting of a bail bond involves a contractual agreement between a bail bond agent and the indemnitor or Co-Signer (meaning the inpidual posting the bail). Basically you are taking out an insurance policy through a Bondsman that guarantees the court the person being released / set free will return to court as required. The bail agent insures or guarantees the court that the defendant (person being released from jail) will appear in court each and every time required by the judge. For this service, the defendant and Co-signer must sign a contract insuring they will pay the full amount of bail if the defendant does not appear in court.
Typically, we prefer a family member of the defendant post bail and Co-sign but sometimes allow close personal friends. Collateral (House, Vehicle or Additional Sum of Money) is not usually required to bail a person from jail. Often a person can be bailed from jail with a signature of a friend or family member and paying the 10% surety amount. Co-signers need to be working, have regular means of income and proof of a legitimate job for some time. It’s best if the co-signer either owns or rents a home in the same area.
After a contract is signed and bail is paid in full, the bail agent posts a bond for the amount of the bail to guarantee the defendant’s return to court.
If the defendant “skips” or fails to appear in court when required, the court will order the bond forfeited. The co-signer is immediately responsible for all recovery fees and could after a period of time owe full amount of the surety bail. These additional and expensive fees can be avoided by making sure the defendant attends all court dates set by the judge.
What Is Bail?
The term Bail is used in several distinct senses: 1) It may mean the security – cash or bond – given to guarntee appearance of the defendant, 2) It may mean the bail bondsman (i.e., the person who acts as surety for the defendant’s appearance, and into whose custody the defendant is released, or 3) as a verb, it may refer to the release of the defendant (he has bailed out).
The first meaning is the most common and should be used for clarity. Admission to bail is the order of a competent court that the defendant be discharged from actual custody upon bail. The discharge on bail is accomplished by the taking of bail (i.e., the acceptance by the court or magistrate of security, either an undertaking or deposit for the appearance of the defendant before the court for some part of the criminal proceeding). Bail is evidenced by a bond recognizance, which ordinarily becomes a record of the court.
The bond is in the nature of a contract between the state on one side and the defendant and his sureties on the other. The agreement basically is that the state will release the defendant from custody, the sureties will undertake or guarantee that the defendant will appear at specified time and place to answer the charge made against them. If the defendant fails to appear, the sureties become the absolute debtor of the state for the amount of the bond.
What Is The Purpose Of Bail?
The purpose of bail is to assure the attendance of the defendant, when his / her presence is required in court, whether before or after conviction, until case is concluded by sentencing or dismissal.
Do I Get My Money Back After The Defendant Goes To Court?
When the bail bond has served its purpose, the surety will be exonerated (released from obligation). Exoneration normally occurs when the proceedings are terminated in some way or on the return of the defendant to custody. After conviction, the defendant is committed to custody of the sheriff, and the liability of the surety terminates. You will not receive any money back that you have paid to a bail bondsman. Some counties require court cost, fines and fees be paid to the jail/court when bail is posted. When the case is closed and fees are assessed the remainder is refunded to the person posting bail. If defendant found not guilty, all additional fees will be fully refunded.
What If The Person I Bailed Out Fails To Appear In Court?
Notify The Bondsman immediately, sometimes it can be worked out prior to additional charges being filed. If the defendant cooperates and turns them self in willingly they may avoid additional charges and bond requirements. Generally the Judge is going to issue an arrest warrant for Failure to Appear and order the bondsman to immediately surrender the defendant. This would be an additional offense, separate and distinct from the original charge. Warrants issued are then entered into the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) database. The bondsman or law enforcement officer may arrest the defendant, or authorize a bail enforcement agent to do so for the purpose of surrendering him/her back into custody to ensure future appearance in court. When bail is posted, the defendant (person being bonded from jail) is considered released into custody of the bondsman and his sureties.
If The Defendant Does Not Appear And The Court Orders An Arrest Warrant, Can It Be Set Aside If He/she Later Appears?
A court will sometimes order an arrest warrant for the defendant’s failure to appear. The bond may be reinstated when the defendant appears in court and offers the judge an acceptable explanation for the absence. Some instances of this would be the failure to appear due to a death, illness or insanity, or detention in jail by a civil or military authority. An example of illness would be where the defendant is confined to bed by reason of a doctor’s order.
What Is A Bond Indemnitor / Co-signer?
A bail bond indemnitor is the co-signer of the bail bond. Co-signing a Bail Bond is a contractual agreement between a bail bond agent and the co-signer that includes paying a premium which is 10% of the surety bond amount. Basically you are taking out an insurance policy through a Bondsman that guarantees the court that the person being released or set free will return to court as required.
The bail agent post the full bond amount to the court to guaranteeing the defendant (person released from jail) will appear in court each and every time required by the judge. For this service, the defendant and co-signer must sign a contract insuring they will pay back the full amount of bail if the defendant does not appear in court. The co-signer is no longer liable for the bond once all defendant’s court appearances have been completed and the case is closed. If the defendant fails to appear in court and the bondsman
or recovery agents are unable to locate the defendant and returned them to custody the bond will be forfeited.
Bond Forfeiture requires the co-signer to pay the full amount of the bail plus all fees and costs associated with the attempted return of the defendant.