In the United States of America, freedom is most certainly not free. The US is one of the few countries in the world that runs a comprehensive bail system, in which suspects that have been charged but not yet convicted of a crime can pay a fee to secure their release prior to trial.
This money is returned to the defendant in full after sentencing, even if the defendant is found guilty. This is meant to be used as a means of ensuring that defendants do not flee while awaiting trial. In practice, however, it means that the freedom of those suspected of a crime is determined almost entirely by economic status.
The average bail money amount in the US stands at around $55,000ba, putting it out of reach of most Americans. However, if you or a loved one needs to meet bail but is not fortunate enough to have tens of thousands of dollars lying around, you can use bail bondsmen. If you or someone you know is going to jail, read on to find out how bail bondsmen can get you out.
1. Bail Bondsmen Explained
First, let’s break down exactly what bail bondsmen are, and why they are important to anyone interested in getting out of jail. Bail bondsmen are purveyors of financial services. They will pay the full bail amount of a client on their behalf, with their own money. They will do this in exchange for a fee that is completely non-refundable, but much smaller than the amount of the bail.
The bail bondsman will then be on the hook for the defendant and must vouch for their good conduct. A bail bondsman can even use important resources such as www.jailexchange.com to find your loved one in the prison or jail system if you do not know where they are.
2. What’s the Catch?
While using a bail bondman sounds like an obvious choice even if you can afford the full bail amount yourself, there is more to it. Importantly, the fee charged by the bail bondsman is always a percentage of the bail amount, usually 10-20%. This means that, although the fee is smaller than the bail amount, it is still a substantial sum of money that is 100% non-refundable, no matter what happens.
Furthermore, the bail bondsman will hold you accountable for the full bail amount if you (as the defendant) attempt to flee or otherwise fails to meet the conditions of bail. Bail bondsmen are known for being very strict about this and will frequently resort to any measures possible to hunt down fugitive inmates in order to recover their bail money.
Bail bondsmen will accompany an inmate to trial and sentencing and will be the ones to receive all of the bail money in full once sentencing is completed. This is how bail bondsmen work in practice.
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Understanding how bail bondsmen work can help you stay on top of your rights and know what to do in the event of a legal emergency. Make sure to check out our news sections to stay on top of the breaking developments that impact you and your loved ones.