A bail bondsman is any individual or agency that will act as a guarantor and pledge money or assets as bail for the appearance of an accused criminal defendant in court. The bail bondsmen thus assumes the bail responsibilities of an individual, in exchange for collateral and fees, to offer a guarantee to a specific court system that an alleged individual will show up for his or her trial or court dates.
Bail bondsmen are almost exclusive to the United States; although financial institutions or insurance companies act as the typical guarantor for other types of contracts, these entities are reticent to put their funds at the specific risks involved with posting a bail bond.
All bail bondsmen have a standing agreement with local court systems, where they will agrees to post an irrevocable bond, which pay the court system if the defendants for whom the bail bondsmen represent does not show up to their specific court dates. In turn, the bail bondsmen also has a agreement with an insurance company or credit provider to draw on such security; this relationship eliminated the need for a bail bondsman to deposit cash or assets with the underlying court every time a new defendant is bailed out.
A bail bondsman will typically charge a fee of 10-15% of the total bail with a minimum of a $100 required; these numbers will fluctuate based on state law and the operating bail bondsman’s own agenda.
If the accused individual does not show up to their court date, the bail bondsman is allowed, by law or contractual agreement, to physically bring the defendant to the court in order to recover the money paid out under the bond – this practice is usually expedited through the inclusion of a bounty hunter.
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