In the state of New Hampshire bail bonds are structured much like that of the laws that were established by the English hundreds of years ago, which is the basis for all bail in the U.S.. It is based on the belief that if a family member or friend puts up the money or property to secure the offender’s release from prison, they will be more likely to appear in court and not “skip bail” or pose a threat to the community. This belief is also because the person putting up the funds has a great deal at risk; therefore, they will take the initiative to see that the offender doesn’t fail to appear.
Today, the bail system has proven itself time and time again because the incentive to protect their financial risk is the industries driving force. And, it works! Only if the defendant poses to be a real flight risk, will the judge deny bail for their release and keep them in jail until their trial, at which time they might change their bail denial decision.
Why does bail have such a positive affect on our judicial system?
Besides the incentive for the bail bondsman, family member or friend who put up the money for bail, to protect their financial risk and make sure that the defendant appears in court as required, the other benefit to bail is the fact that bail bonds are issued with no cost to taxpayers or state and local governments. The bail system in the U.S. is a private industry usually based on a family business strategy, comprised of compassion and the belief that we are all innocent until proven guilty.
What is a Bail Commissioner?
A “Bail Commissioner” in the state of New Hampshire has the right to set the bail amount just like that of a judge or magistrate of the court. If the offender chooses to go through a Bail Commissioner to post bail for their release, they will pay a fee of $40.00 up front, in addition to the bail premium.
What is the bail premium in New Hampshire?
A bail premium is the percentage of the entire amount of the bail set by the judge for the crime(s) committed, in order to secure a defendant’s release from jail while awaiting trial. In New Hampshire the typical premium rate is 10% to 15% of the total amount of the bail. Therefore, if the total amount of bail is set at $30,000, then the bail premium would only be $4,500 at 15%, or $3,000 at 10%. And, if the defendant shows up for all their court appearances, this will be all that the defendant or their co-signer will have to pay, and it’s non-refundable.
What types of bail or surety bonds are available in New Hampshire?
PERSONAL RECOGNIZANCE BAIL - This is usually called a “PR Bail”, and is only allowed if the court believes that the individual is not a flight risk or a threat to the community. The defendant is promising the court that they will appear for all their court dates and not flee the county or state for any reason. This is also known as being released on their own recognizance. However, if they do flee, the full amount of the bail set must be paid in cash to the court.
CASH ONLY BAIL – This is bail that must be paid in full, up front, to the court for the defendant’s release and no collateral may be required or applied to this bail. If the defendant complies with the court as dictated, when the case closes the cash posted for bail will be returned to the individual who posted the cash bond.
CASH OR SURETY BAIL – In this case, the defendant can either post the full amount of the bail set in cash, or employ the services of a bail bondsman or agent for a fee. A bondsman must be licensed and registered with the Secretary of State of New Hampshire and by the county to write a bail bond. Bail Bondmen will charge a fee, usually 10%-15% of the total amount of the bail, for their services, which is the most affordable way to post bail. And, if the bail is high enough, a bail bondsman will require collateral, usually in the form of real estate (a deed for real property owned) or a car (title and resale value), either of which will need to be of equal or higher value to cover the total amount of the bond.
Does New Hampshire have conditions for bail?
The answer is Yes. Conditions for a defendant to be released on bail are dictated by a judge or bail commissioner. These conditions include: no illegal use of drugs or abuse of alcohol, no new criminal charges, no contacting the alleged victim or any witnesses related to your case, and/or no weapons possession.
Can I make Payment Arrangements?
Payment arrangements and financing plans are often available and made at the sole discretion of the bail agency. Rates and terms are based on each individual situation. Bail agents can request the maximum legal premium payment or take less with additional installment payment plans. This is usually based on the Indemnitor or co-signer’s ability to pay. Major credit cards and debit cards are also accepted. Bail Bondsmen try to work with people to help make posting bail affordable, but they also have the right to refuse payment arrangements if they feel they will be taking a greater risk, since they are equally responsible for the full amount of the bond if the defendant skips bail and the co-signer doesn’t pay as agreed.
New Hampshire offers a variety of bail choices to help make posting bail as easy and affordable as possible, but keep in mind the legal requirements and responsibilities that accompany the decision to bail out a loved one or a friend. Understanding that bailing out someone is an emotional gesture, you should be sure that you trust the defendant will comply with the court’s rules and not put you in a more stressful situation by having to pay for the bond in full.