Not unlike most states in the nation, 10% of the total amount of the bail set by the judge is what you pay when working with a bail bondsman who posts a bail bond for the release of an offender from a jail in New York State. The judge will base his/her decision on the total amount of the bail to be set after reviewing certain information gathered from the booking process. The particular items included in this decision-making process are; the nature of the current offense, the defendant’s past history of prior offenses, their reputation in the community where they reside, current work situation, and if they have any outstanding warrants. Taking all these items into consideration, the judge will set the bail amount for the defendant’s release from jail.
Keep in mind that this process will take place at a hearing at least 48 hours after the initial arrest. Ideally, when someone is arrested, they have the right to make one phone call. If it’s not to an attorney, then it will most likely be to a relative or friend asking them to bail them out. This is a good time to start looking for a reputable bail bondsman to explain the bail process. A bail bondsman can also assist with acquiring the details of the arrest and if posting bail is an option.
A bail bond, or surety bond, is best defined as an insurance policy. It is an instrument that assures the court that the defendant will appear in court on all court dates, or the full bail amount will be paid. When you work with a bail bond agent, this insurance policy will have a premium of 10% of the total amount of the bail set. The Indemnitor, or co-signer, by signing the contract, is guaranteeing that the defendant will appear in court on all dates scheduled, and that they will be responsible for the full amount of the bond should the defendant not appear in court as scheduled.
CASH BAIL – This requires that the full amount of the bail be paid directly to the court for the release of the arrestee. As long as the defendant appears at all the court dates scheduled, once the case is decided and closed, the cash bail could be returned minus court fees; however, the return of these funds could take several months. Of course, this is dependant on the final outcome of the case.
BAIL BOND or SURETY BOND – These bonds (or insurance bonds) are available through a bail bondsman for a fee. The distinct advantage to working with a bail bondsman is that you only have to come up with 10% of the total amount of the bail set by the judge. This is a much more affordable approach to posting bail. So, if bail is set at $25,000, you just need to put up $2,500.
Most bail bond agencies accept major credit cards, cash, or will work with you to create a payment plan. In some cases collateral will be required in the form of real estate or securities. The collateral must be equal or higher in value [by a certain percentage] of the total amount of the bond. The reason for this is because if the defendant should skip bail, the court will demand payment in full and your collateral must cover the bond.
There are several repercussions if the defendant “skips” bail because the co-signer, along with the bail bond agent, and the surety will be at risk. First, there will be a “bench warrant” issued by the court for the defendant’s arrest and he/she will be considered a “fugitive”. Second, the bail bond agent now has the legal right to pursue the defendant without the need for a warrant to search any residence where they believe they may be hiding. Third and foremost, the court will want the bond paid in full, and now you, the bail agent and the surety are responsible for making that payment. This is why you must be absolutely sure that you can trust the defendant to NOT skip bail before you co-sign anything to get them released from incarceration.Sometimes bad things happen to good people, and sometimes people make bad decisions out of desperation. Bail is designed to help defendants get out of jail so they can have time with their families, and to work on their defense with their attorney. This should be viewed as a privilege granted by the court and not abused by not facing the charges and skipping bail. Skipping bail will only make the situation worse, and make your life and that of your family and friends stressed and more pressured.