The justice system of the USA is based on the principle that everyone is innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, which is a key reason we maintain a cash bail system throughout the country. Just because you’ve been arrested doesn’t mean you’re guilty, and it surely doesn’t mean you deserve to be incarcerated during the investigation and trial.
The steps of posting bail can seem complex, mainly because many companies use complicated language that only a lawyer could possibly understand. At Balboa Bail Bonds, our services include assisting you and guiding you each step of the way, and the first step is, of course, education.
Bail vs. Bond
Many people use the terms bail and bond interchangeably – but they aren’t the same. Understanding the difference can help clarify the steps you need to take to get out jail:
- Bail refers to the amount of money set by a judge to secure your release from prison pending trial, or the money itself paid to the court.
- A bail bond refers to a financial guarantee issued by a licensed individual or corporation instead of paying the full amount, used to secure your release from prison. Bail bond agencies issue these guarantees to the court as a service for those who cannot pay the full bail amount in cash, in exchange for a percentage fee. If you are released through a bail bond and flee or fail to appear, the bail bond agency may be held responsible for paying the full amount to the court.
A Step By Step Guide to Posting Bail
Every case follows the same basic procedure:
The first step is to get your bail set, or in other words, have a judge determine how much your bail is going to be. If you have no criminal record and the crime is minor, the judge may release you “on your own recognizance” – also called a “zero-dollar bail.”
Finding a bail bond agent
Assuming the bail amount set is higher than you can afford to pay upfront, your next step is to locate a bail bond agency like Balboa Bail Bonds. We will then work with you to get the paperwork to get your bail posted and you out the door.
Cash and collateral
Most bail bond agencies require a 10-15% premium, as well as collateral to guarantee that the company won’t get “stuck with the bill” if you fail to appear. You can expect to pay the premium up front and then work with your bail bond agent to determine acceptable collateral that you will sign over, such as a car, jewelry, or property.
At Balboa Bail Bonds, we offer a low 10% premium, and we work with you to quickly work out the needed collateral – if we need it at all.
Once the payment and collateral are in order, the bail bond agency will fill out the paperwork and post it with the court, thereby securing your release from prison and allowing you to walk out the door.
What Happens Next?
Once you’re out on bail, you are legally required to attend all court proceedings and follow court instructions. The agreement further includes limitations on leaving the state and country and others. As long as you follow the agreements that went along with your bail bond, the bond will be released, your collateral will be returned, and you won’t have paid anything more than the premium. If, however, you fail to comply, the bail bond agency is financially responsible for paying the full amount – and they will likely attempt to locate you and return you to the court.