Within a few days of an arrest, an accused individual appears at a bail hearing and is given the opportunity to post the amount of bail to secure his release from detention while awaiting trial. However, as bail prices can run from a few thousand to hundreds of thousands of dollars, most defendants are not prepared to pay the entire amount. This is where the services of bail bonds Harrisburg PA come in.
How Bail Bonds Work
Bail bonds are a guarantee that is provided to the court in lieu of the entire amount of bail. Once the bail amount has been set, the defendant or his representative must contact a bail agent. Bail agents are licensed financial service providers who are able to issue surety bonds and enter into a legal agreement with the court on behalf of their client. The cost of a bail bond is usually equal to ten percent of the cost of bail. Some agents even offer additional financing options such as payment plans.
If the bail amount is high, bail agents may ask for collateral to guarantee the rest of the bond. This can be real property such as land, a home, vehicles or boats. A family member or friend can put up collateral for the defendant but should be aware that he or she will lose that property if the defendant breaks the terms of his bail.
Once the bail agent signs this surety bond, the defendant can be released into the community while waiting for his or her trial.
What Happens to the Bail Bond After Court
The bail bond serves as a sort of insurance policy that backs up the client’s agreement to show up for his future court dates. This is why bail amounts are usually set higher for individuals who judges deem to be more at risk for flight. Provided the individual shows up to his court date, the bond is released. The bail agent will keep his service fee but return any collateral to his client.
If the defendant does not show up for court, the bond has been broken. This means that the bail agent is required to pay the court the full bail. He or she will maintain his fee and keep any additional property or collateral that the client put up as part of the agreement. Additionally, the judge will issue a warrant for the defendant’s arrest and he or she will not be offered bail again. Instead, he will remain in the custody of the state throughout all legal proceedings.