How Do Bail Bonds Work?
Typically, the accused is brought before a district court judge within 48 hours of the time of arrest, in order for the judge to assure that the defendant:
1.) Understands his/her rights and
2.) Understands the nature of the charges against them
The judge generally will set bail amount and other conditions of release that the defendant must comply with in order to be released from the custody of the county sheriff.
If the judge sets a bail, the defendant will be held until such time as he/she posts a bond in a dollar amount equal to the bail amount. At this time the detainee, or a friend or family member of the detainee, can contact one of our agents to arrange for the bond.
As a bail bonding agency our primary concern is that defendants for whom we provide bail will return for all of his/her court appearances.
Failure to appear for any of their scheduled appearances means the court will likely issue a forfeiture notice to our agency, which means that we have to pay the full face amount of the bond, in cash, to the court. Therefore, we will usually require that a friend or family member (called an indemnitor) co-sign onto the bond.
That indemnitor is assuring us that they are well acquainted with the defendant and the defendant will return to court as scheduled. Should the defendant fail to appear, we as the bonding agency, can turn back to the co-signer for reimbursement of the full face amount of the bond we pay into the court as a result of the defendants non-appearance, plus any court costs or investigative expenses we incur.
Co-signing on to a bond is not to be taken lightly, and you should only consider doing so if you are absolutely certain the defendant will make all court appearances as scheduled. For larger bonds we may require, in addition to an indemnitor signature, some sort of collateral such as cash, a security interest in a late model automobile, or a mortgage on real estate, as security for the bond. Once the defendant has made all court appearances and the bond is discharged, this collateral will be returned to whoever pledged it on behalf of the defendant.