One of the most common questions that our firm is asked is, “What is bond?” Typically, when an individual has been arrested, the court sets forth bail. This is a payment that must be made to the court in order to secure the defendant’s appearance at their upcoming hearing. Bail can be posted in the form of a cash payment, or collateral, such as property. One way of posting bail is to pay the full amount directly to the court. Once the defendant has completed their court obligations, the money will be returned to them, not including fees or any other costs incurred. If the defendant is unable to afford the cost of bail a bail bond agency might be able to post their bail.
Bail bond agencies, depending on the amount of bail set, may require collateral (such as property). They can also hold titles and charge a credit card. In Georgia, the fee for a bail bond is 12% if the bond is $10,000.00 or less and 15% if the bond is over $10,000.00. There may be additional charges that are assessed from the jails. In Federal Court, the bail bond fee is 15%.
The defendant, or someone on behalf of, will sign an agreement with the agency that they will appear in court or owe the agency the full bail amount. The agency then posts the bail, essentially taking a risk on behalf of the defendant. If the defendant does not show up for court, the bail bondsman fundamentally forfeits the money he has set forth toward bail. In this instance, the agencies can keep the collateral, but can also hire a bounty hunter to locate the defendant and bring them to their court appearances.
Once bail has been posted by the defendant, there are several conditions of bond. The most obvious condition is the necessity to appear to all court proceedings. A defendant may also need to comply with any stipulations set by the court, such as mandated treatments, classes, etc. Other conditions of bond can include, but are not limited to regular check-ins with bail agents, restricted traveling, or remaining employed.
After the criminal trial, a portion of the money is returned to the individual who had posted bail. For those individuals who enlisted the help of a bail bondsman, the fees are normally non-refundable. For those individuals who were able to pay their bail directly to the jail, the bulk of the money is returned, subtracting any fees that may have been incurred. Nonetheless, defendants who did not appear at their court proceedings have forfeited the bail they posted and they never see that money again. Bail bondsmen retain the right to the collateral put down by the defendants or those posting bail on their behalf as well.
If you or someone you know has recently been arrested and needs help acquiring a bond please contact Bixon Law at 404-551-5684. We have assisted numerous clients in both acquiring bond as well as helping to reduce a bond that has already been set by the court.