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How Does Bail Work?

Purpose of Bail: The principal purpose of bail is to ensure that an accused person will return to court if he is released from jail prior to trial. People who are arrested on minor misdemeanor offenses and some non-violent felony offenses are generally released from jail on their own recognizance or through a pre-trial supervision service. However, when an accused is arrested for a serious, violent or repeat offense, the authorities will not release him until they are confident the accused will appear in court when summoned. In such cases, bail is set in an amount sufficient to reassure the court that the accused has incentive to show up and get his money back. Problems with Bail: In his remarks to Congress at the signing of the Bail Reform Act, President Lyndon B. Johnson provided the following excerpt: “A man was jailed on a serious charge brought last Christmas Eve. He could not afford bail, so he spent 101 days in jail until he could get a hearing. Then the complainant admitted that the charge that he had made was false.” The Act provided that “a man, regardless of his financial status – shall not needlessly be detained, when detention serves neither the ends of justice nor the public interest.” Notwithstanding the Act’s stated intent to avoid unnecessary and prolonged detention prior to trial, local, state and federal authorities regularly set bail without considering the individual

characteristics and circumstances of the accused. Poor people may serve more time in jail than wealthy people, because they do not have funds available to post bail. The wealthy among us can easily withdraw $10,000.00 in cash to post bail. But thousands of people accused of crime cannot afford to pay even half that amount. If an accused cannot afford to pay bail, he may ask the court to reduce the bail amount. At a bail hearing, the court will determine an appropriate bail amount by considering the accused person’s criminal background, history of showing up for court, ties to the community and family and whether the person presents a danger to others. However, the procedural requirements for requesting a bail hearing can be confusing. If an accused cannot afford bail, it is unlikely he can afford an attorney to assist in filing the appropriate motions with the court. It can take months for criminal cases to go to trial. Without the help of bail bondsmen, jails may be overfilled with people accused but not yet convicted of crime. The Surety Bond Solution: If the accused cannot afford to post the entire bail, he can arrange a surety bond through a bail bondsman. Before the bail bondsman agrees to post a surety bond, he will look into the accused person’s criminal history and conduct an interview. The accused is then required to pay a fee of approximately ten percent of the total amount of bail to the bail bondsman. Most bail bondsmen also require a guarantor or co-signer to sign a contract agreeing to cover the full cost of bail if the accused does not appear in court. In some cases, the bail bondsman may also be willing to accept collateral, such as jewelry, vehicles, electronic equipment or the title to real property, in exchange for a surety bond. Once the bail bondsman receives payment, he issues a surety bond on behalf of the accused. It only takes about 30 minutes to issue and post bond, and the accused will generally be released within hours of the bond being posted. The bail bondsman is covered by insurance through a surety company. A surety bond is essentially a promise made by a surety company that the accused will appear in court. If the accused appears in court, the court returns the bond and the surety company keeps all or a percentage of the fee paid by the accused. If the accused does not appear as promised, the surety company is expected to cover the entire amount of bail. In the event of nonappearance, the accused forfeits any money or property he has given to the bail bondsman. The surety company will also seek reimbursement for the remaining cost of the surety bond from the guarantor. Your Utah Bail Bond Company Bail bonds businesses are like any other businesses. Before entering into a contract with a bail bondsman, you should determine whether the business is reputable and that you are comfortable working with the bail bondsman. Bad Boys Bail Bonds is a trusted, family-owned bail bond

company serving the state of Utah. The knowledgeable bail agents and staff at Bad Boys Bail Bonds are available to speak with you 24 hours a day 365 days a year. For more information please visit

How Bail Works  

A detailed look at the bail process and how it works.

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