A bail bond is a financial guarantee made by or on behalf of a criminal defendant that is used to guarantee their appearance in court through the end of their trial upon release from custody. A bail bond is the legal contract which releases an individual from custody. The bail bond also ties contractually, the state, the bail agent and the defendant together.
BAIL-IS THE SECURITY REQUIRED FOR THE RELEASE OF A PERSON FROM JAIL.
BOND-IS THE LEGAL BINDING OBLIGATION ASSUMED BY THE PERSON WHO POSTS BAIL.
What types of bail bonds exist?
Written Promise to Appear:
In cases where the crime is considered relatively minor and the defendant does not have a significant criminal history, the court may allow the defendant to sign a "written promise to appear" in court. This type of appearance bond may have a dollar value assigned to it but it will not be required for the defendant to be released from jail at that time. It will be demanded by the court if the defendant fails to appear on their designated court date. This type of bail bond does not require the assistance of a bail bondsman.
Secured Appearance Bond:
A Secured Appearance Bond (most commonly referred to as a Secured Bond) means that the defendant or someone on behalf of the defendant has to put up something of value (cash or property) to assure the defendant's appearance in court. THIS IS THE MOST COMMON REASON FOR NEEDING A BAIL BONDSMAN. Often times, the amount of bail set by the court may be more than the defendant has available. The bail bondsman steps in by posting the defendant's bail bond to the court for a fee.
A cash bond may only be posted with cash (U.S. currency) or by a surety bail bondsman. DNA Bail Bonds has licensed surety bail agents and can readily provide assistance in securing a cash bail bond. Cash Bonds may be used by the court if the court believes that there is a higher risk for the defendant to flee (and has no property that the court may secure their appearance with...see Property Bonds below) and wishes to secure the defendant's release with cash or a surety bail bondsman.
Property Bonds are a method used by the courts to assure that a defendant will appear in court by posting Real Property (a home, land, building, etc.) as security the defendant will appear in court. In some cases, when individuals post property, the value of the property isn't quite enough to cover the full face value of the bond. DNA Bail Bonds can post the remaining balance of the bond to ensure the defendant's release from jail.
What options do I have to help my loved one out of jail?
There are three ways in which an individual may be released from custody: 1. Bail Bondsman- When using a bail bondsman you will ONLY have to pay a maximum of 15% of the total amount of the bond. Collateral may be required in certain instances.
2. Any individual may post the full amount of the bond to the Magistrate or jail official.
3. Any individual may post real property with the Magistrate/Court. Example: land/home
How do I get a bail bond?
The amount of the bond is set by the court (most often a judge or a magistrate). The bail bondsman has absolutely no say whatsoever in the amount that is set. A bond hearing may be scheduled in the event that a defendant wishes to address the issue to a judge. An attorney should be consulted regarding this process. The process of having a bail bondsman post a bond is relatively simple. The defendant (or someone on their behalf such as a friend or family member), simply contacts a bail bondsman to discuss the situation. Based on the conversation and the information obtained, the bail bondsman will make a decision to "write the bond" or not. From there, it is a matter of completing necessary paperwork and submitting it to the court (often, a magistrate's court). Once the court has accepted the bondsman's paperwork, the defendant will be release from jail and free on bond.
How much will a bail bond cost?
The amount of the bond is set by a judicial official (usually a judge or magistrate). While different jurisdictions have different laws governing the amount a bail bondsman may charge, in North Carolina, current laws allow a licensed bail bondsman to charge no more than 15% of the total bond amount as a fee for the service of providing the bond. Example: Bond amount is $1000.00, the maximum a bail bondsman can charge is 15% of the face value of the bond which equals $150.00.
Who is a bail bondsman?
A bail bondsman is an individual who is licensed by the North Carolina Department of Insurance for the purpose of posting bail for individuals in jail.
Are there different types of bail bondsman?
There are three types of bondsman:
The Surety Bondsman:
Surety Bondsmen are licensed bail bonding professionals who provide bail bonding services to defendants on behalf of a licensed insurance company. They are usually independently owned and operated franchises of their underwriting companies. By definition, all bail bonding professionals in North Carolina are insurance agents and function much the same way as other insurance professionals. They assess risk, provide the service and if necessary, pay the claim. The difference is they are analyzing the risk and circumstance of an individual person as opposed to a car or home. Because they have the backing of (and are responsible to) large insurance underwriters, they often have the advantage of writing larger bonds and/or more of them.
The Professional Bondsman & Bail Bond Runners:
Professional bondsman is a differentiation of status, not professionalism. The professional bondsman is essentially the exact same thing as a surety bondsman; the only difference is the professional bondsman puts up his/her own money to insure a bond. They maintain an account with the North Carolina Department of Insurance. A licensed bail bond runner works for a professional bondsman by power of attorney and has all the same rights and responsibilities as their professional bondsman. Professional bondsman and their runners are limited in the amount of total bonds that they may write.
The Accommodation Bondsman:
Typically a friend or family member who has posted the necessary amount of bond (money or property) to the court on behalf of a defendant is considered an accommodation bondsman. As such, the accommodation bondsman has the same rights and responsibilities as a professional bail bonding company does in regards to the defendant. The important difference is that an accommodation bondsman is providing the bond as a personal favor to the defendant and may not be compensated (paid) for doing so. An accommodation bondsman who accepts payments of any kind whether it is for goods or services for this favor could be in serious trouble with the state. In North Carolina, it is illegal for any person to act as a licensed bondsman unless they are actually licensed and in compliance with all applicable state laws.
What is a Defendant?
A defendant is someone who has been charged with a crime (or crimes).
What is an Indemnitor?
An indemnitor is someone who, in essence, is helping a defendant secure their bail bond. A simple way to define indemnitor is as a "cosigner". This may occur for several reasons and is very common in bail bonding. The most common indemnitors are spouses, family members and close personal friends. The point of the indemnitor is to assume the costs and risks relative to a defendant, often by putting up property or money to assure that the defendant will appear in and comply with the court. Indemnitors are not bondsman and do not have the same rights and responsibilities of bondsman, rather, they are helping the defendant to be able to afford their bail bond.
What will the bail bondsman need to know?
Different bail bondsman and bail bond companies will have different requirements but most will need many of the same things. Verifiable ID is always important. The bail bondsman will certainly need to know the defendant's full name, birth date, their address in which they live and work. They will ask other pertinent questions such as, where they bank, vehicle information, medical information, attorney information, etc.
What responsibilities does a bail bondsman have?
A bail bondsman is involved from the point of a defendant's release from jail until the case is disposed, regardless of the length of time it takes. The bail agent not only gets a person out of jail, but must keep up with each court date both in district and superior courts. The bail agent must make sure their client appears for each court date and is required to know the whereabouts of the client at all times. If a court date is missed, the bail agent must locate the client. The bail agent will help the client either obtain a new court date when an honest mistake is made or will arrest the defendant and return them back to jail. If needed, the bail agent will travel to all fifty states in order to return a client back to the court system. North Carolina bail bondsmen have a return rate of 97.8 percent. Bail bondsmen have the right to arrest an individual and they follow the following US. Supreme Court ruling:
(TAYLOR VS. TAINTOR, 16 WALL, 366)
When bail is given, the principal is regarded as delivered to the custody of his sureties. Their dominion is a continuance of the original imprisonment. Whenever they choose to do so, they may seize him and deliver him up in their discharge; and if that cannot be done at once, they may imprison him until it can be done. They may exercise their right in person or by agent. They may pursue him into another state; may arrest him on the Sabbath; and, if necessary, may break and enter his house for that purpose. The seizure is not made by virtue of new process. None is needed. It is likened to the rearrest by the sheriff of an escaping prisoner.
Does a bail bondsman have the right to arrest a defendant at any time?
Yes, a bail bondsman has the right to arrest a defendant at any time but there are only seven reasons that an agent has the right to arrest someone and NOT return their premium.
58-71-20. Surrender of defendant by surety; when premium need not be returned.
At any time before there has been a breach of the undertaking in any type of bail or fine and cash bond the surety may surrender the defendant to the sheriff of the county in which the defendant is bonded to appear or to the sheriff where the defendant was bonded; in such case the full premium shall be returned within 72 hours after the surrender. The defendant may be surrendered without the return of premium for the bond if the defendant does any of the following:
(1) Willfully fails to pay the premium to the surety or willfully fails to make a premium payment under the agreement specified in G.S. 58-71-167.
(2) Changes his or her address without notifying the surety before the address change.
(3) Physically hides from the surety.
(4) Leaves the State without the permission of the surety.
(5) Violates any order of the court.
(6) Fails to disclose information or provides false information regarding any failure to appear in court, any previous felony convictions within the past 10 years, or any charges pending in any State or federal court.
(7) Knowingly provides the surety with incorrect personal identification, or uses a false name or alias. (1963, c. 1225, s. 5; 1975, c. 619, s. 1; 1998-211, s. 30; 2001-269, s. 2.3; 2007-399, s. 1.)
Do I get the premium or bond fee back? No, you do not get any premium/bond fee back that you paid to a bail bondsman. This fee is the fee charged for the release of an individual in jail.
What is collateral?
Collateral is any kind of property or cash used to secure the performance of the bond. In some cases, other measures are needed to secure the defendant's appearance. For large bonds it is a common practice for an agent to require a promissory note secured with a deed of trust or collateralize a vehicle or other valuable item until the case is disposed of; at which point the collateral is returned. In the state of North Carolina a bail bondsman can charge up 100 % of the bond amount in collateral. This collateral must be returned 72 hours after the disposition of the case.
Are bail bondmen allowed to use my collateral?
No, the collateral has to be placed in safekeeping or in a trust account.
If I sign for an individual and this person cannot be located, am I liable? Yes, you would have signed a legal binding contract and are therefore financially responsible for the amount of the bond. If the person out on bond forfeits the bond by not showing up for court and they cannot be found within 150 days, then the full face value of the bond is your financial responsibility and is due on demand.
What happens if the defendant misses court or fails to comply with an order of the court?
In a bail bond undertaking, the defendant promises both the court and their bail bondsman that they will appear in court as scheduled and that they will follow any instructions of the court. If the defendant fails to appear or violates an order of the court, they forfeit their bail bond agreement with both their bail bondsman and the court. It now becomes the bail bondsman's responsibility to guarantee that the defendant is returned to the custody of the court. This process is called "surrender". It's essentially the same as an arrest.
1. If the defendant cooperates with the bail bondsman, most often, arrangements can be made to keep the defendant out of jail until their case comes to court. 2. If the defendant fails to be cooperative, runs, hides or flees the jurisdiction, all bets are off! The bail bondsman will make every effort to find the defendant anywhere, at any time. (See above Taylor v. Taintor). If a bail bondsman locates the defendant, they will surrender him/her to the jurisdiction of the court from which the defendant was originally bonded or from where the charges originated. Furthermore, because the defendant failed to appear or violated a court order, an Order for Arrest will likely be issued by the court for law enforcement to arrest the defendant. In some North Carolina counties if you miss court and are returned to jail by a bail bondsman or law enforcement agent, your original bond may be doubled!
How will I know when my case is over and my liability ends?
Your liability ends when a final disposition is entered by the state and no appeal is pending.
- Check Your Court Date
- North Carolina Bail Association
- North Carolina Department of Insurance
- The Slammer
Address312 E. Market Street
Smithfield, NC 27577
Bail Bond Customer Bill of Rights
- All customers have the right to ask to see a Bail Agents state issued license.
- All customers have a right to know that the highest amount a Bail Agent can charge in the State of North Carolina is 15% of the full value of the bond. Any other monies collected is considered collateral and must be returned upon dismissal of the case.
- All customers have a right to have the bail bond process fully explained to them.
- All customers have the right to understand their bail bond indemnitor (co-signor) responsibilities.
- All customers are entitled to receive copies of all documents relating to their bail bond.
- All customers have a right to work with a licensed bondsman who represents themselves professionally.