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How Do Bail Bond Companies Work?

How Do Bail Bond Companies Work

A bail bond company works like a lender that only deals in payments required to get people out of jail. Bail companies take on a big risk that may lead to the company becoming bankrupt if people skip out on court.

Bail bonds are paid to the court and allow a suspect to return to the community until his trial starts. In cases where the suspect cannot raise the bail through his personal finances or friends and family, the bail bond company puts up the bail for a fee. If the accused flees, the bond agency must pay the court.

Judges issue three main types of bonds that a bond agency deals with. Cash bonds require payment upfront and are one of the most effective for enticing a suspect to show up for court. Surety bonds require the bond agent to guarantee payment if the accused flees. Property bonds are similar to sureties, but the court puts an actual lien on property.

Unless the judge releases a person because the suspect poses no flight risk or threat to the community, a friend or relative must contact a bail bondsman for the accused. The bondsman requests a profile of the suspect, such as his occupation and police record, to ascertain the chances of him fleeing. The person bailing out the jailed agrees to pay the bond if the suspect flees, and the bondsman goes to the courthouse to pay the bond.

If a suspect fails to appear before his judge, the law considers him a fugitive. The bail-bonding agency has to hunt down the fugitive or reimburse the court for the bond amount. Bond agents have a security fund for such situations, because the companies that insure bail bondsmen require it. Bondsmen take most of the risk for bonds on fugitives because insurers usually only pay if the bondsman cannot cover the bond. If the bond agency cannot find the suspect, it has to go after the assets of the fugitive or whoever requested the bond.

Unless you want to hunt fugitives yourself, consider contracting a bounty hunter to return an accused for trial, the National Association of Bail Enforcement Agents advises. Bail Bonds 101 suggests purchasing bail bond software to help run your business and keep track of your accounting. Software programs can tailor itself based on the specific type of bonds you write.

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