What Is a Bail Bond?
When a defendant is arrested and taken to jail, the court will set a bail amount. This is an amount of money that must be paid to the court for the defendant to be released and is required as a sort of promise that the defendant will return to court when specified. Once a defendant successfully shows up to all mandatory appearances, the court will release the bail amount back to the defendant or whatever party may have posted bail on the defendant’s behalf.
Most of the time, however, a defendant cannot afford to pay the full bail amount. This is where a bail bond comes into the picture. A bail bond is a legally binding agreement wherein a defendant or a person acting on the defendant’s behalf promises to pay the full bail amount to the court if the defendant fails to show up in court when required. In California, a bail bond costs 10 percent of the full bail amount. For example, a bail bond for bail that was set at $10,000 would cost $1,000. A bail bond must be secured through a licensed bail bond agent.
At times, a bail bond agent will require some form of collateral from a defendant, such as jewelry, motor vehicles or other valuables. Real estate may be used to post bail in some cases. This, however, will vary on a case-by-case basis.