Bail is money required by the court to release a defendant from custody and to guarantee his/her appearance in court. Bail can range anywhere from $50 for a simple infraction or misdemeanor to more than $1 million for serious felonies. In all cases either cash or a Bail Bond (a financial guarantee) must be given to the court for security. When bail is set high, most will chose to rely on a Bail Bond Agency instead of trying to raise the cash for the full bail amount themselves. Once a bail bond is posted and the defendant is released, the Bail Bond Agency then becomes responsible for that defendants' appearance in court. If the defendant fails to appear when required, the court will "forfeit" the bail bond and demand payment from the bail bond agency. The agency, in turn, will do what is necessary to return the defendant to custody and recover their costs.
The transaction for having someone released on bond is fairly simple; you are the "indemnitor", or person(s) willing to be responsible for the defendant while they are out on bail. You pledge some property or other assets (collateral) to us to guarantee the bond, we in turn guarantee the cash to the court who will release the defendant soon thereafter. For this service, agencies charge a premium of 10% of the bail amount, which is set by the California Department of Insurance, and is not refundable once the defendant is released. The bond stays into effect until the case is over and the court orders the bond "exonerated". Upon exoneration of the bond, the collateral is returned to the indemnitor(s).
As the indemnitor it is import to understand that there is absolutely NO RISK in pledging any amount of collateral to a bail agency as long as you are 100 percent certain the defendant will appear in court and will not flee.
I am sure you have more detailed questions about the bail process and we would by happy to answer them. Please call us (888) 389-BAIL.