If you or a relative are being held in a county facility after being arrested for a crime, you must find out if a bond has been set. In most counties a bond is pre-set depending upon the nature of the criminal offense according to a schedule approved by local judges. The judges do have the power in individual cases to increase or decrease the scheduled bond amount.
Once you find out what the bond amount is you need to decide whether you have enough funds to pay the bond in full and even if you do have the funds whether you would choose to do so or would rather use a bondsman. If you post a cash bond, it will be necessary for you to bring the exact amount of the cash to the county facility. The county facility will give you a receipt which indicates the date you must return for court. The county facility will release you.
Upon successful completion of the case you will receive the money back. You will not receive any interest on the money. You must understand that should you be convicted or plead guilty or no contest to the offense, the court has the authority to have part or all of the cash bond applied to any fines and court costs imposed by the judge. However, your return of the money is not dependent on whether you are found guilty or not guilty but is dependent on whether you return to court as scheduled and as required.
If you do not have sufficient funds or if you choose not to post a cash bond, then it may be helpful to contact a bail-bondsman. A bondsman is an independent business person who will post a bond to secure your release or the release of your relative from the county jail in return for a fee. The fee is usually 10% in state court cases. The bondsman may require additional collateral for the remainder of the bond. The bondsman will then secure your release and the bondsman will notify you of your court dates. You will be responsible to that bondsman to appear in court.
Even if you are found not guilty, you will not have the bond premium refunded by the bondsman as the bondsman will keep that money as his or her fee for the service provided. Most bondsmen have 24-hour telephone numbers and are available to meet with you at any time. Please remember that bail-bondsmen are independent business people, and it is possible that by shopping around you may get more favorable terms.