Bail bond agencies are common in the USA and in its former commonwealth, the Philippines. In other countries, they are not legal. These agencies are licensed to put up bail for criminal defendants. Other bonds are issued by banks and insurance companies. However, putting up a bond on behalf of a criminal would put their investors’ and customers’ money at risk so they shy away from this risk. On the other hand, bail bond agencies serve criminals only.
How Do They Work?
Each bail bond agency must have insurance. This ensures that any bail amount owed to the court will always be paid, even in the case that the agency does not have enough of their own money to pay it out.
Bail bond agencies are licensed by the authorities. Friends and family contact them when they cannot come up with the amount required to set free whoever is in jail. If it is cash bail, the agency pays the money to the court. A surety or a property bail bond is much simpler as the agency has to give an assurance that the arrested person will show up for court, failure to which they will pay the bail money in full. For the bail bond agent to do all this, you have to pay an amount in premium.
How Much Should You Pay?
Many people are not sure how much they ought to pay as premium to the bail bond agent. In some states it is 8% while in some it can be as high as 10% of the bail amount. In addition to this, you still have to pay up the bail amount in case the person under trial flees. The premium amount, seeing that it is determined by laws and regulations, is not negotiable. Most laws direct that the amount should not be exorbitant or inadequate. It is therefore illegal to get a discount that goes below the payment rate set by the law and such a bail bond agency could lose their license. Some agencies trick people into believing that they can get a discount but end up charging them the full amount.
In light of this, you should always ask for the payment rate chart or guideline and countercheck with the law. This way, you will be able to know the bare minimum, which will help you find the cheapest agency.
Will You Get Your Money Back?
There are two possible scenarios. The person under trial could either show up for all court dates or he or she could flee. In both cases, you cannot get your premium back. That amount is paid out as a fee for the bail bond agency to do their job. Only in special circumstances would you be entitled to any of that money. If the agency violated your agreement in any way or did not provide certain services as promised, you could use these as grounds to get a percentage refund. If there is no breach of contract, then the premium is not rightfully yours after paying it to bail someone out.