If you are arrested for suspected criminal activity, you may go to jail until your trial unless you post a bail bond.  The purpose of these bonds is to assure that you will be present for any court date related to your case.  Many bond amounts are predetermined by the courts and can be paid soon after an arrest.  Exceptions are for capital crimes, such as murder, or if the arrestee is considered a flight risk.

What are the Type of Bonds?

There are two types of bonds that may be posted to have someone released from jail, a cash bond and a surety bond.

  • Cash Bonds require that the entire amount of the bond is paid before the prisoner is released.  Although the bond should be refunded when the arrestee appears in court, fees, fines and other payments may be required and the court might keep the entire amount of the cash bond to meet these responsibilities.
  • Surety Bonds is a system that uses a bail bondsman who is paid 10% of the bond amount as his for her fee.  The bail bondsman pays the court the entire amount of the bond and the arrestee is freed.  It is important to note that Florida regulations set that bondsman’s fee at exactly 10% of the total bond amount and it is illegal for him to offer a lower price, or charge more than his competitors.

Once the bond is posted and the person is released from jail, the bond serves as an incentive to return for court dates.  If the defendant does not appear, the bond is forfeited.  In the situation of a cash bond, the money will not be returned to the person who posted the funds.  In the case of a surety bond, the bail bondsman will not be reimbursed for the funds they paid. To avoid this situation, many bondsmen work closely with their clients to assure they are present at their hearing dates.

Why Criminal Defense Attorneys Rely on Bail Bondsman?

Reputable bail bondsmen perform a necessary function within the criminal defense system. Through their services, defendants can return home after their arrest and continue working, caring for their children, and living their lives.  They are also better able to work with their criminal defense attorney to prepare their defense.

Experienced criminal defense attorneys know that working with reputable and reliable bail bondsmen can benefit their clients and their defense.

Bail bondsmen allow an attorney to:

  • Provide their clients with the ability to post bail even if they have limited financial means
  • Have access to their clients outside of the jail or prison system
  • Trust that their client will be present for any necessary hearings or trials

A reputable bondsman is one who is well-established within the community and follows the legal guidelines for their fees. For more information on bail bonds and how they work, Tampa's Armando Arcos Bail Bonds developed a bail bonds guide.

When to Contact a Bail Bondsman?

When you are arrested, the first thing you should do is hire an experienced criminal defense attorney. This lawyer may be able to:

  • Have you released on your own recognizance (no bail required)
  • Get a reduction in the bail amount
  • Keep the bail amount from increasing

Once bail is set, this attorney can refer you to a reputable bail bondsman to complete the bail process, if necessary.

Although a reputable bail bondsman plays an important role in the criminal justice system, you should always begin by hiring an experienced criminal defense attorney.  Ben Stechschulte is a board certified criminal defense attorney who provides expert representation and understands the bail bond process.