There are many types of bail bonds, and it can feel like a quagmire figuring out what each one is. In the following article, we’ll attempt to straighten out some of the confusion surrounding the system. We’ll also discuss what influences eligibility and what the future might look like for the current system.
What Influences Eligibility?
Many factors can influence your eligibility for bail. These factors are pretty universal no matter which of the seven bond types we’re talking about below. They are:
- Flight risk: do you have a history of “failure to appear” on your record? If so, it will be more difficult to get bond granted.
- The seriousness of the crime: public intoxication is not the same as murder in the eyes of the law. The former is likely to receive bail while the latter either won’t, or they’ll face a very high cash bond amount.
- Prior criminal history: if it’s a first offense and a misdemeanor or lower-grade felony, you’re a pretty good candidate for bail eligibility. Habitual offenders or individuals with outstanding warrants will face higher bail amounts or no bail at all.
- Familial obligations: you may be the only one working or you may be sole caregiver to an indigent person. Maybe you’re a parent to one or more children. The court will factor all these scenarios into their decision.
- Community ties: the court probably won’t consider individuals who are heavily invested in their communities (i.e., community organizers, politicians, or philanthropists) serious flight risks.
This isn’t an exhaustive list of what may influence the court’s determination. Depending on what the situation is, the court could use one or several to make its final decision.
The Bond Types Explained
Once you know you’re eligible, it’s time to explore your options. Some of these are harder to get than others. See what your bondsman can do before making a final decision.
1. Cash Payment
Cash payment is sometimes referred to as a cash bond. Of the different types of bonds, this one is easiest to understand.
The court sets the amount. You pay the amount in cash. You get released.
Before you ask, the court won’t accept any type of collateral in place of cash. And you don’t pay a percentage of the bail. You pay the full amount.
Courts may set these unusually high to keep certain types of defendants — violent individuals, flight risks — from attaining bail. The money usually gets returned to the defendant if he made all required court appearances.
If you don’t show up, you don’t receive a refund.
2. Surety Bond
The cash bail system is a direct relationship between the court and the defendant. A surety bond adds one variable to that equation: a third-party payor.
In these cases, the third-party would pay the bail to the court for the defendant. Of the various types of bail on this list, surety bonds can be a bit harder to get.
That’s because the bond company does a risk assessment before taking on the client. If a defendant’s finances, credit report, and criminal history are in question, approval would be unlikely.
Qualifying for a surety bond is a good way of mitigating the costs of bail after you’re arrested. You usually pay between 10 and 15 percent of the bail amount and may get part of that back after honoring the agreement.
3. Citation Release
Of the different bond types, you’ll probably want a citation release more than anything else. You can go home immediately, often from the scene of the incident.
The only stipulation is that you agree to show up for your court appearance as instructed. Failure to do so can result in fines and penalties and, in rare cases, jail time.
Police won’t issue a citation release to anyone. These are typically reserved for misdemeanor offenses.
4. Signature Bond
Among the different types of bail, the signature bond is second only to citation release in terms of what the accused would prefer. These are sometimes called “recognizance bonds,” so if you are “released on your own recognizance,” you will end up signing a signature bond (or “sig-bond,” for short).
The advantage to a sig-bond is that you get out of jail immediately without having to sign over any cash or property. That said, failure to appear will usually result in a monetary judgment that’s determined before your release.
5. Immigration Bond
One of the bail bond types you’re hearing more about with current events is the immigration bond. This falls under the purview of the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency. There are two sub-types:
- Departure bond: The detained generally pays a refundable $500 amount and agrees to leave the country on their dime. The money goes back to them once they have done so.
- Delivery bond: This is pretty much a cash or surety bond for a detained foreign national in the US illegally. Amounts start around $1,500 and can go much higher depending on the accused’s risk factors.
If one plans to stay in the country, it’s a good idea to use this time to seek the help of an immigration lawyer. Also, it’s time to get family affairs in order and prepare for the possibility of deportation.
6. Property Bond
A defendant who attains a property bond will do so after first putting up some amount of property as collateral. The property will usually need to be double (or more) of the bail bond amount.
Automobiles, jewelry, and real estate are the most common types of collateral offered, but the court or bond company will accept any item of value.
7. Federal Bail Bond
You can only get the last type of bail bond on our list through the federal courts’ system. In these cases, there will be a co-signer for your release who guarantees a sum of money should you fail to meet the bail obligations.
A federal judge will determine the eligibility of the person signing the release. They look at the financial stability and reputation of the signee when deciding whether to approve.
What Is Next for These Types of Bail Bonds?
In California, These types of bail bonds are at risk. That’s thanks to a proposed law known as SB 10.
This law would eliminate bail, putting public safety and dollars at risk while finding new ways to discriminate against the poor and people of color. Click here to learn more about the threat. And if you need bail assistance, don’t forget to call the Bail Man today.