Understanding the Bail Bonding Process

Bail Background in the U.S.

The Eighth Amendment reads: Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted. It was adopted, as part of the Bill of Rights, in 1791. It is almost identical to a provision in the English Bill of Rights of 1689, in which Parliament declared, “as their ancestors in like cases have usually done…that excessive bail ought not to be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.”[3]

What is Bail?

When you or your loved one is arrested on suspicion of a crime, that person will be taken by law enforcement agents to jail for booking. During this process, the person will have a mug shot taken, be fingerprinted, and asked for a statement. While awaiting their day in court, the individual will be detained in jail. But that doesn’t have to be the case. In our great nation, you are innocent until PROVEN guilty. Because of this (and the 8th amendment) you will have the ability to be released on bail.

Bail is a financial arrangement that a bail bonding agency will make on behalf of the defendant. The court will set a monetary value of the bail. A bail bonding agency, acting for the defendant, will arrange with the court to have them released from jail pending the court date in exchange for money or collateral (cash, assets, etc).  

The bail agency is then responsible for ensuring that the individual arrives in court on their specified court date. In the unlikely event that the individual fails to appear in court, then the bonding agency may track, apprehend, and surrender to the Sheriff the individual to be detained.

How Do Bonds and Bondsmen Work?

When one of our bail bondsman arrives to “bail you out”, there are documents to be signed and arrangements to be agreed upon. The individual being bonded will have to pay 10% of the set bond amount, plus a $25 signing fee and a $12 state tax. For example, if an individual is detained and their bail is set at $10,000, then the individual would pay us $1,037 to walk free from jail. This initial fee is not refundable, even if the case is thrown out after the individual posts bail.*

The bail bondsman may take out a security against a defendants assets in order to cover the cost of the bail. If the defendant does not have enough assets, then the bondsman may take out securities against individuals that are willing to assist, such as relatives and friends, known as co-signers. When a security is taken out, the bondsman requires a 10% cash payment in addition to the mortgage on a person’s home or a vehicle title that would equal the full amount of the bail bond money owed. If the individual appears in court as they agreed and a final disposition is reached, then all titles, assets, etc, are returned to the owners thereof.

In the event that a defendant does not arrive in court, the bondsman can not only dispatch fugitive recovery agents to arrest the defendant, but the bondsman then has a right to sue the defendant for money that was given to the court for the defendant’s bail bond. Once a final forfeiture has been issued to the bail bond agency, they will then remove themselves from the bond and pursue legal action to levy or recover any unpaid money by means of claiming assets that were owned by the defendant or those individuals that signed a contract to financially assist the defendant.

*In the event that the defendant resides outside of the state of Tennessee, the fees change from 10% to 15% for the duration of one year. Upon the arrival of the one year mark, the bonding agency retains the right to raise the rate to 20%

DISCLAIMER:: Freebird bonding and it’s associates provide no legal services or advice to anyone.