In a perfect world, if a crime even occurred and someone was arrested for it, the trial would be short and sweet; hear both sides of the story, sentence or acquit. However, the world is not as rosy and trials in the current American legal system often take weeks, even months. As a result, the defendants, some of whom may be innocent, have to cool their heels in jail until the moment of truth. Not only may the consequence be financial hardship but also extreme mental trauma and missing out on social life and personal well-being. Bail is one such escape from this period of wait and misery before a trial.In many cases, America’s law courts accept bail as a financial assurance in exchange for releasing the defendant until the trial is complete. The judge takes into account several factors, including the severity of the alleged crime and the defendant’s criminal record, while granting bail and the setting the amount of it.If bail is granted, the document containing details of it is known as a bail bond and is signed by a bail bondsman, a person who undertakes the guarantee that the defendant will appear for all his hearings. If the defendant jumps bail, the bail bondsman must pay from his own buildup fund.So, this precious, little document, the bail bond, enables the defendant and his kith and kin to heave a collective sigh of relief. For the family, the most important quality of a bail bond is that it gets the loved one out of jail in a quick and dignified manner. It saves all of them a great deal of stress and anxiety and helps in keeping their reputation intact.An able and reputed bail bondsman would know the legal system well and treat his client with respect, thus enabling the family to uphold its self-respect. He would respond to his client promptly and with compassion, always ensuring that integrity remain the cornerstone of his business.Most laymen do not have a clear understanding of how the jail system works and often get nervous when they or someone dear to them are arrested. Bail get regular citizens in touch with a bail bondsman, who patiently explains the nitty-gritty of the process and takes responsibility to get them out of the looming prison walls into the security offered by their own homes.Another crucial advantage proffered by bail is that they take only minutes to get approved and processed. Also, throughout the United States of America, bail bondsmen are available on an “on call” basis. Within a short span of time, they swoop in to save the day.Regardless of whether they are San Diego Bail Bonds or Los Angeles County Bail Bonds, a bail bondsman needs street-smart, reliable bounty hunters.Taking a look at the other side of the spectrum, the court may also rest assured that the defendant will appear for hearings and that justice will be upheld.Not everyone who is released on bail is finally acquitted, of course, and several safeguards have been built into the bail law to ensure that the guilty are punished. However, for the innocent, bail bonds offer a welcome respite from the physical, mental, emotional and social trauma that most law-abiding citizens would undergo if put behind bars. In this inherent function of bringing peace to troubled minds lies the importance of bail bonds.
Due to its very nature, the bail bond industry is popular and much-needed in several countries across the world. However, bail laws vary greatly in different countries. Here is an attempt to compare laws with respect to bail bonds currently prevalent in USA, UK and Canada.United States of America:The Bail Reform Act of 1966 states that a non-capital defendant is to be released before his trial on his personal recognizance or on personal bond. If the judicial officer determines that these incentives will not ensure his attendance in the trial, he may choose from an alternative list of conditions. In the case of capital crimes, detaining or releasing a suspect on bail prior to trial is left to the judge’s discretion.Additionally, the United States Code, Title 18, Sections 3141-3150 allows pre-trial detention of defendants based upon their danger to the community.San Bernardino bail bonds, Los Angeles bail bonds – the bail law and types of bonds vary greatly across different locations in the United States. However, some common forms of temporary release offered in the country are:• Recognizance
• Citation Release
• Surety Bond
• Property bond
• Order of Protection
• Conditions of releaseUnited Kingdom:In UK, three types of bail can be granted as briefly explained below:• Police bail enables a suspect to be released without being charged as long as he returns to the police station at a specified time.
• Police to court bail may be granted to a suspect, the condition being that he must attend his first hearing as specified by the Court.
• Court bail is when a suspect who has already been to court is released on bail until the case is closed.The nature and seriousness of the default, the defendant’s character and past record and the strength of the evidence are taken into account while deciding his eligibility to get bail. Bail may be refused if either the police or the Court has substantial grounds to believe that the defendant would abscond, commit further offences or interfere with witnesses if released on bail.Canada:The Bail Reform Act gave the police new powers to release individuals charged with a criminal offence, created detailed procedures for bail reviews and placed the onus for justifying detention of the defendant on the prosecutor. The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms also gives a defendant the right “not to be denied reasonable bail without just cause.”Unlike in many other jurisdictions, Canada has no bailsmen or bail insurance policies. Instead, summons, appearance notice, recognizance, undertaking and promise to appear are commonly prevalent.
The above study shows us that bail laws may vary, but the purpose of the bond remains the same irrespective of the country – to get a loved one out of jail while he awaits trial.
So, you are sitting in jail and want to go home until your court hearing. What do you do now? How do you go about arranging bail? Who do you call and what needs to be done? These are all questions that must be answered if you intend to post bail and possibly go home and wait until your trial. Hopefully, this article will shed some light on the bail bond process and let you know what to expect if you ever find yourself in this unfortunate situation.You Contact a Bail Bond CompanyThe first step is to contact a company that can post your bail. Chances are you will not have the amount of money that is required by the court for bail so you will have to get the rest from a credible bail bondsman. Since you are sitting in jail, your lawyer, family member or friend will do this for you. First contact is generally done by phone.Bail Bond Company Feels Out Your SituationOf course the bondsman will want to know all of your personal details. What are the charges? Do you have a job? Do you have any assets? Basically, the bail bond company is trying to determine if you are a flight risk. Are you worthy of getting your bond paid. You might be required to put up collateral.You Pay the Bail Bond CompanyIf both the bail bondsman and you feel like this is a good fit, then you will have to sign paperwork and pay for their services. Generally the amount that is paid is around ten percent of the bail amount set by the court. This amount is not an amount that is set by the bailsman. This amount is set by the state. Although, this is usually an amount that is more than the average person can pay, many times the bail company might have different payment plans to choose from.The Paperwork is SignedWhen you purchase a bail bond, you will be required to sign a few forms such as the Bail Bond Agreement and a Notice to the Indemnitor. The first form basically is an agreement between the bail company and person paying the fees saying that they are both responsible for making sure that the defendant will show up for court. The last form is signed by the bail signer that indicates that they know that they are responsible for getting the defendant to court.Bail is PostedOnce the paperwork is signed and the fees are paid, your bail will be posted in a matter of a few hours. The bailsman will bring the money to wherever you are being detained and you will be released until your court date.Usually this works out without a hitch. You put up 10% of the bail amount. The bail bond company put up the remaining. If you show up in court as agreed, everyone will be happy. The court will give back the bail money to the bail company. The bail bond company will keep the 10% that you put up for bail as money for services rendered. The court is happy. The bail company is paid and you get out of jail.
Most people think that when the economy is bad, crime goes up and Bail Bondsmen really rake in the dough. That is not necessarily true.While some states may have seen an increase in crime, not all states have seen that sort of increase. Bail bond companies sell a product like other merchants, and when the economy is down, it affects their business as well. While people are struggling to pay their house payments and don’t have the money to pay their bills, they most likely cannot afford a bail bond either. So, yes, it does affect the bail bond companies just like any other business.Is there really a rise in crime rates?
It depends on where you live.In Connecticut, Attorney General Richard Blumenthal mentioned that, “our worst economic times seem to be bringing out the worst in many of our people.” He said there was an increase in armed robberies, shoplifting, and state fraud.However, In California the opposite affect seems to be happening. The Los Angeles Times reported that for the sixth year in a row, crime rates are falling in Southern California and Los Angeles area.In other areas, our economic situation is helping to solve crimes. In Nashville it was reported that there was a 53% increase in tips given to the Nashville Crime Stoppers Group. A motivator for many people is the reward money. Metro detective Jim Lambert said, “I even had one caller call in and say, ‘You know, normally I’m not a snitch, but I need the money.”Are Good People Going Bad?
Due to layoffs and home foreclosures, some people are concerned that it is turning honest people into criminals. However, there is not much evidence to support that.In Providence, RI there has been an increase in calls to the Fire Department, but most often this is not for fires. It’s from thieves breaking into houses that are vacant and stealing copper plumbing, which is causing flooding. The home foreclosures have impacted nearly 40% of law enforcement agencies, either through a loss in tax revenue, or an increase in crime relating to vacant houses.Bail bondsmen deal with good people on a daily basis who have just made a mistake. Some people will do unthinkable and surprising things when they are desperate, like embezzlement for example.What about Domestic Violence in this economy?
Another form of desperation is when stress and the unknown cause people to violently lash out against family members.Due to that act alone, the US Department of Justice issued a Community Dispatch called “Preparing for Crime in a Bad Economy”, which warns about the possible rise in domestic violence. In California, this is one crime that is on the rise. The YWCA Domestic Violence Hotline in San Diego County has seen calls doubled compared to 2008.The bail amount in California for a domestic violence charge ranges anywhere from $20,000 to $50,000. The bail bond amount alone for that is 10%. This is a very expensive lesson on how important anger management is.Just like many other businesses, bail bondsmen feel the impact as their customers have less money in these difficult times. The result being that the people who are arrested are not able to come up with that kind of money or collateral to get out of jail. They feel they cannot turn loose of that sort of money and most often will sit it out in jail.Fortunately, the situation is improving and people are a lot more optimistic about spending money. They feel the economy is on the rise and things will be getting back to as close to normal as possible. No matter what business you are in, that is good news for everybody.
Starting a bail business is not for the faint-hearted. However, if you are a law and order enthusiast, it can be a lucrative business opportunity. Some of the pre-requisites you need to deal in bail have been listed below.Research:
As for all ventures, the precedent to opening your bail office is doing extensive research. Bail bond laws vary among different American states, and you need to be well-versed with the particular laws of the state you wish to operate in.Business plan:
Drafting a comprehensive business plan will help you to get a loan from banks and other lending institutions. Besides, it will help you to set down specific business goals and details on how you will achieve them.Classroom instruction:
You need to complete the requisite course with at least the minimum grade point average before you will be issued a license that will enable you to start your bond business.License:
The bail bond industry has rigorous rules and the consequences of a lapse are severe, including an order to shut down your business. So, ensure that you have all licenses and permits in place before you flag off. Other requirements include getting fingerprinted, bonded and insured.Location:
Pick an easily accessible location as close to a jail as possible to set up your office. Look for a building that offers a pleasant, private waiting area and easy-to-park vehicle space. You may need to purchase a good security system if you plan to keep cash at your workplace.Employees:
Check the identification and criminal background of prospective employees and bounty hunters thoroughly and ensure that they are equipped with appropriate licenses.Network:
Get to know the court clerk and employees of the magistrate’s court, jail and other law enforcement agencies that you will be dealing with. Building a rapport with them will help you to build your reputation in this business.Marketing:
Whether you offer Orange County bail bonds or Los Angeles bail bonds, the business itself is very competitive across the USA. Develop a detailed marketing strategy that helps you to differentiate yourself from the competition and entices prospective customers to pick your service when they need a bail.As a bail bondsman, you will fulfill a specialized need in the fields of justice and law enforcement. At the same time, the bail business is both demanding and lucrative. Starting a bail business is a challenging task that will make demands on your time, energy and negotiation skills, but the returns are well worth the effort.