Being placed under arrest is by no means an easy situation to be in. Whether the defendant is guilty or not, the prospect of having to spend time in jail, isolated from family and friends, is a very daunting one.
Under the justice system in the United States, there is a way to avoid having to spend time in jail after the defendant has been arrested and is awaiting trial: to post bail. This involves paying a certain amount, which is set by a judge, to the court in exchange for being released.
However, not everyone can necessarily afford to pay the full bail amount. Fortunately, there is a lifeline in the form of a bail bond. Bail bonds only require a small percentage — usually ten percent — of the bail amount to be paid outright.
A bail bond is usually availed of through a bail bondsman (or a bond agent) in Summit County. Here are some things to know regarding what a bail bondsman does for a defendant:
Secure the rest of the defendant's bail
In order to secure a bail bond, the defendant will pay a small percentage of the bail amount to the bail bondsman. The bail bondsman will then secure — or guarantee — the rest of the bail amount to the court. In return, the defendant (or any friends or family) must post collateral (which may be assets such as a house or car) to the bail bondsman. Once this is completed, the defendant is free to be released.
Help refer the defendant to lawyers
Though the defendant is free from spending time in jail, he or she must still appear in court for trial. This necessitates preparing a defense and pleading a case before the court.
Some bail bondsmen may work for bail bond agencies, many of whom have connections to lawyers who can help the defendant prepare properly for trial. This is a great advantage for the defendant, as it helps increase his or her chances of being exonerated. Should this happen, the bail bond will be dissolved upon the conclusion of the trial, the collateral will be returned to whomever posted it, and the defendant will be cleared and able to return to normal life.
Assume responsibility for the defendant's appearance at court
If all goes according to plan, the defendant will appear in court on all trial dates following being released from police custody. However, it is possible that the defendant will "skip bail" and fail to appear in court on the mandated dates.
In such cases, since the bail bondsman was the one who guaranteed the defendant's bail amount, it would fall to him or her to pay the full bail amount to the court. To do this, the bail bondsman would have the authority to seize the assets posted as collateral, as well as to locate the defendant and turn him or her over to the court.
While a bail bondsman's services can be lifesaving, especially to those who could not otherwise afford bail, it is important to understand the conditions that come with these services. A defendant must strictly follow these conditions in order to be able to fully appreciate and benefit from the services that a bail bondsman can provide in the greatest time of need.