Understanding Bail Bonds – Some Top Questions
Have you been charged with an alleged offense and put in jail? Depending on the severity of the offense and the probability that you might commit another crime when out of jail, you may be able to obtain a surety bond or post bail and get out of jail before the court trial begins.
A bail bond is a form of bail payment where you, as a criminal defendant, pay money to the court before the criminal case begins as a guarantee that you will return to the court for the rest of the trial whenever required to do so.
While the terms bail and bond often get confused, they are not the same thing. The difference between these two is in the source of money paid to the court to secure your freedom.
A bail payment provided on your behalf by a bail bond agent is called a bond. For this service, you pay a fee to a bail bond agent who is securing your freedom. The agent acts as a guarantee, promising the court that they will pay the full bond amount should you fail to appear in the court.
So, a bail bondsman will pay the bail bond to the court and charge you a fee (usually 10 percent of the total bail amount) in return for ensuring the payment on your behalf. This fee is non-refundable, which means that you won’t be able to get your money back if convinced.
On the other hand, bail is the money you or your family pay to get out of jail. Bail is refundable, which means you’ll be able to get your money back.
How Much is Bail For Simple Assault?
Bail amounts depend on the crime committed and other factors that are taken into account when setting the bail. For instance, some of the factors that play a part in establishing the bail amount include your age, your criminal history, any other current charges that you may have, your prior record of not appearing to court, and possible threat you may represent to yourself and/or others.
Furthermore, the bail amount depends on the charge being a misdemeanor or a felony. Felony charges are usually five to ten times higher due to the potential flight risk from a probable long-term sentence. That being said, major crimes, such as murder with substantial evidence most likely will not have a bail amount because of the high risk of harm to other people.
Misdemeanor assaults are the least serious among assault and battery crimes as they commonly don’t involve serious injury and include a minimal threat of violence.
In most U.S. states, when arrested again, you will not be allowed to post Bail if you were previously convicted of a capital crime (and served your time).
Average bail amounts for misdemeanor crimes can range from $500 (in states like New Mexico and Oklahoma) to $10,000 for battery against a spouse or another person.
What Happens if You Violate Bail Conditions?
If you violate bail conditions in any way, e.g. fail to show up in court, commit another crime and get arrested again, your bail will be revoked and you will most likely be taken into custody. After bail is revoked, you might forfeit the money paid. And if you are going through a bail bondsman, you’ll have to secure a loan with collateral. This is usually your house or a car.
As already mentioned, you will also need to pay a service fee, which is usually 10 percent of the bail amount and it is not refundable.
Can Bounty Hunters Break and Enter?
Bail bondsmen hire bounty hunters to track and locate arrestees who fail to appear in court. Bounty hunter’s job is to assist bail bondsmen in ensuring that you appear in court.
However, bounty hunters are not just required to track and locate a criminal fugitive, but also to apprehend them and return them to court. Depending on the individual state’s laws, bounty hunters can break and enter your private property without a warrant in order to take you back into custody.
Can You Go to Jail for Failure to Appear in Court?
Depending on the charges against you, you may be ordered to appear in court repeatedly during a criminal case. If you fail to appear as ordered, you have violated the court order.
Failure to appear in court has consequences, and you may even face criminal charges.
In case you fail to appear in court when requested, a judge can issue a warrant for your arrest and you can be taken into custody. Furthermore, the judge can impose fines or jail sentence if you are found guilty of failure to appear in court. The judge can also increase your bond. If the court previously released you on your own recognizance and did not require you to post a bond, the judge might change the conditions and request a bond.
What Is an Unqualified Legal Opinion?
An unqualified legal opinion is s a legal opinion issued by a bond counsel for the issuer of municipal securities where there are no reservations relating to the issue. A bond counsel is an attorney or law firm that represents municipal bondholders’ interests during a bond offering hired, usually by the issuer, to give the bond counsel opinion.
An unqualified legal opinion of bond counsel is frequently separated from a qualified opinion because it expresses a lesser degree of confidence by the bond counsel delivering the opinion. A legal opinion is unqualified if it is subject to customary assumptions, limitations, and qualifications.