If a person gets arrested, he/she may be allowed to apply for a bail. Bail is a sum of money that the affected person deposits with the court in order to allow them to remain out of jail until the trial of their case. By asking for bail, the court is simply making certain of the accused’s presence in court as and when required. At times, the bail amount is too large to be paid by the accused. In such cases, the court accepts bail bonds, which people can obtain by paying only a small part of the total bail amount. Usually, this amount is ten percent, and the balance of the amount is paid by a bail bonding agency. Generally, the courts will refund this amount, provided the accused continues to be present in court on all dates demanded by it. In those cases, the entire amount is retained by the agency providing the bail for the accused, meaning that the initial amount paid by the accused is pocketed by the agency, and that is how the agency makes profit.
A court hearing decides the bail amount. In certain cases, the hearing may also include an arrangement where the judge may hear the charges and demand the detainee to make a plea. The bail amount depends on how serious are the charges against the accused. A lot of people may find the sum to be quite high and therefor out of their reach. The amount is set low enough to make its payment worthwhile to avoid spending more time in jail, yet large enough to get its refund attractive by attending all the dates as ordered by court.
Bail bonds are a kind of insurance policy that is taken out to ensure that the defendant shows up for his court date. Since most people that are accused of a crime come to court on the scheduled date at the scheduled time, bonding out is a fairly common practice. There are even businesses that lend people money to cover these costs.
What’s In It For Them?
Like any institution that lends money out, those who deal in bail bonds charge interest rates for the service. These rates often depend on the size of the loan and the criminal history of the accused. When a defendant is deemed a possible flight risk and is still granted bail, it may be hard for him to secure a loan from a bondsman. In the overwhelming majority of the cases, however, a bond is posted at the fairly reasonable rate of 10 percent.
If a bondsman is concerned that the defendant may run or “jump” bail, he may ask for collateral. He does this because if his client fails to show up, the court will hold the bondsman financially responsible, i.e., he will lose the bond he posted after a certain number of days. When the loan is a large one and it is forfeited, the bondsman could put his business in jeopardy.
To ensure that he does not lose his money, the bondsman employs bounty hunters. It is the job of these freelance professionals to track down fugitives who have skipped their court date. If the bounty hunter gets his hands on the fugitive before the cops do, he will receive a percentage of the bond. But if the authorities catch him first, the bounty hunter goes home empty-handed. Either way, the bondsman wins.