Bail Bonds: Common Questions and Answers

Bail Bonds: Common Questions and Answers

Bail bonds can be a confusing and intimidating topic, especially if you or a loved one is dealing with an arrest.

Understanding how bail bonds work and what to expect can help alleviate some of the stress and uncertainty.

Here are some common questions and answers about bail bonds to help you navigate this complex area.

What is Bail?


Bail is a set amount of money that acts as insurance between the court and the person in jail (the defendant). The defendant can pay bail in cash, but many cannot do so. This is where a bail bond comes in.


The purpose of bail is to ensure that the defendant returns for their court appearances after being released from jail. If the defendant appears as scheduled, the bail money is returned at the end of the trial. If the defendant does not appear, the bail is forfeited.

What is a Bail Bond?


A bail bond is a type of surety bond provided by a bail bondsman or bail bond agent, like Craven Bail Bonds, to secure the release of a defendant from jail. It involves a contractual agreement between the bail bondsman, the defendant, and the court.

How It Works

When a defendant cannot pay the full bail amount, they can arrange for a bail bond through a bail bondsman. The bondsman charges a non-refundable fee (usually 10-15% of the total bail amount) and may require collateral. The bondsman then posts the bail on behalf of the defendant.

How Much Does a Bail Bond Cost?

Fee Structure

The cost of a bail bond is typically 10-15% of the total bail amount, which is non-refundable. For example, if the bail is set at $10,000, the bail bond fee would be between $1,000 and $1,500.

Additional Costs

In some cases, the bail bondsman may also charge additional fees for specific services or conditions. These can include travel expenses, administrative fees, or charges for locating and apprehending a defendant who skips bail.

What is Collateral?


Collateral is an asset or property that the defendant or co-signer pledges to secure the bail bond. It acts as a guarantee that the defendant will appear in court.

Types of Collateral

Common forms of collateral include real estate, vehicles, jewelry, stocks, and other valuable items. The collateral is returned once the defendant has met all court obligations and the bail bond is exonerated.

Who Can Co-Sign for a Bail Bond?


A co-signer, also known as an indemnitor, is a person who signs the bail bond agreement and assumes financial responsibility for ensuring the defendant appears in court.


The co-signer must pay the bail bond fee and provide collateral if required. They are also responsible for covering any additional costs if the defendant fails to appear in court, including the full bail amount and any expenses incurred by the bondsman in locating and apprehending the defendant.

What Happens if the Defendant Misses a Court Date?


If the defendant misses a court date, the court will issue a bench warrant for their arrest, and the bail bond may be forfeited. The bail bondsman will attempt to locate and apprehend the defendant to avoid paying the full bail amount to the court.

Co-Signer's Liability

The co-signer becomes liable for the full bail amount and any additional costs incurred by the bail bondsman in apprehending the defendant. This can result in the loss of collateral provided for the bail bond.

Can Bail Be Reduced or Waived?

Bail Reduction

In some cases, a defense attorney can request a bail reduction at a bail hearing or during the defendant's arraignment. The judge will consider factors such as the severity of the charges, the defendant's criminal history, flight risk, and ties to the community.

Own Recognizance (OR) Release

An OR release allows the defendant to be released from jail without posting bail, based on their promise to return for court appearances. This decision is typically based on the defendant's likelihood of appearing in court, lack of criminal history, and other factors indicating they are not a flight risk.

What is Bail Exoneration?


Bail exoneration occurs when the court releases the bail bond at the conclusion of the case. This can happen regardless of whether the defendant is found guilty, not guilty, or if the charges are dismissed.

Return of Collateral

Once bail is exonerated, any collateral provided for the bail bond is returned to the co-signer. However, the bail bond fee paid to the bail bondsman is non-refundable.

How Long Does It Take to Be Released After Posting Bail?

Processing Time

The time it takes to be released after posting bail can vary depending on several factors, including the jail's processing procedures, staff availability, and the time of day. Typically, it can take anywhere from a few hours to 12 hours for the release to be completed.

Steps Involved

After the bail bond is posted, the jail will process the release paperwork, verify the bail bond, and complete any necessary administrative tasks. Once these steps are completed, the defendant is released from custody.

Can a Bail Bond Be Revoked?

Revocation by Bondsman

A bail bondsman has the authority to revoke a bail bond if they believe the defendant is likely to flee or violate the terms of their release. This can occur if the defendant fails to check in, violates court orders, or engages in illegal activities.

Court-Ordered Revocation

The court can also revoke a bail bond if the defendant violates the conditions of their release. This can result in the defendant being taken back into custody and the bail being forfeited.

Conclusion: Navigating the Bail Bond Process

Understanding the bail bond process is crucial for anyone dealing with an arrest.

By knowing what to expect, you can make informed decisions and ensure that you or your loved one can navigate this challenging situation more smoothly.

If you have further questions, consulting with a professional bail bondsman or legal advisor can provide additional guidance and support.