How Does Bail Or Bond Work?

 

Will I Lose My Money Or My Home
Because I Posted Bail?

Basics about Bail & Bonds
So You Want To Bond Someone Out Of Jail?
General-Bail- Information

What is bail?  Bail or bond (in this case, bail and bond mean the same thing) is an amount of money in cash, property, or surety bond for the purpose of making sure that a person attends all required court appearances.  Bond allows an arrested person (defendant) to be released from jail until his or her case is completed.
Who can post bond?  Any person can post his or her own bond.  If the defendant can’t afford to bond himself or herself out of jail, any other person age 18 or older can post the bond.

If I bond someone out of jail, when will I get my money back?  It could take months.  If you post a cash bond, you might get some or all of your cash bond back, but it won’t be until the case is finished and the necessary paperwork has been processed.  The law lets the Court use the cash bond to pay any fine or costs which might be assessed the defendant. If you post a surety bond, you will not get the surety bondsman’s fee or the Sheriff’s fee back.

Cash Bonds
What is a cash bond?  A cash bond is the full amount of the bond required, paid in cash, to release a defendant from jail.

How much does a cash bond cost?  CASH BOND/BAIL
To be released on cash bail, a person must post with the court the total amount of the bail, in cash, to secure his/her return to court on an appointed date, and thereafter until the case is finished.

Full cash bonds are an incentive for defendants to appear at trial. If the defendant appears for his/her court appearances, the cash will be returned to you within 60-90 days. However, if he/she fails to appear, the cash bond is forfeited to the court! NOTE: Some courts will keep a small fee (usually 3%) and can also deduct any fines from the cash bond you put up.

How do I post a cash bond?  For instructions on how to post a cash bond, call your local Sheriff’s Office. Note:  You do not need to pay a bail bond agent to post a cash bond because you or another person can post a cash bond. 

Can I change my mind after I post a cash bond for someone?  You may have the defendant turn himself or herself in to jail any time before the defendant misses a court date. If the defendant is returned to the jail, you will need to file the required paperwork with the court.

It will take about two weeks for the money to be mailed to you.

If I post a cash bond, will I get my money back?  Maybe.

If the defendant attends all court appearances and either pleads guilty or is found guilty, a cash bond can be used to pay fines and costs:

If you’re using your money to post a cash bond for the defendant, please tell the clerk or jailer your name and address.  If you are using the defendant’s own money to post the cash bond, tell the clerk or jailer that the bond money should be receipted in the defendant’s name. The bond receipt should be made for the person whose money is being used for the cash bond.

If there is any money left, it will be returned to the person whose name is on the bond receipt.

If the defendant attends all court appearances and the charges are dismissed or dropped, the person whose name is on the cash bond receipt will receive the refund of the cash bond.

It takes about two weeks for the refund to be mailed to the person who posted the cash bond.

What happens if the defendant misses court?  
The judge will issue a warrant for the defendant’s arrest and the bond will be forfeited (defaulted).
This is a complicated process and it is probably in your best interest to hire an attorney.

There are many cases on this issue as you can see here:

A party seeking to set aside or remit a forfeiture bears the burden of proving that “it would be inequitable to insist upon forfeiture and that forfeiture is not required in the public interest.” State v. Childs, 208 N.J. Super 61, 64 (App. Div.), certif. Denied 104 N.J. 430 (1986); State v. Mercado, 329 N.J. Super 265, 269-270 (App. Div. 2000).

The court may direct that a forfeiture be set aside if its enforcement is not required in the interests of justice. R. 3:26-6(b). Remission, in whole or in part, may be ordered even after the entry of a judgment of default in the interest of justice. R. 3:26-6(c). The decision to remit bail, as well as the amount of bail to remit, are matters within the sound discretion of the trial judge to be exercised in the public interest. State v. Peace, 63 N.J. 127, 129 (1973); State v. Mercado, 329 N.J. Super. at 270; State v. de la Hoya, 359 N.J. Super. 194, 198 (App. Div. 2003); State v. Harmon, 361 N.J. Super 250, 254 (App. Div. 2003). The exercise of that discretion must be consistent with the policy concerns expressed in State v. de la Hoya, 359 N.J. Super. At  198 and informed by the standards articulated in State v. Hyers, 122 N.J. Super. 177, 180 (App. Div. 1973).

Surety Bonds
What is a bail bondsman?  Bondsman, bonds person, bail agent, and bond agent are all names used for a person who is licensed by the New Jersey State Department of Banking and Insurance (NJDOBI) to sell surety bonds and is authorized to conduct business in the State of New Jersey.  He or she is an agent for an insurance company that sells surety bonds.

What is a surety bond?  A surety bond is an agreement made between a person and a bondsman.  The bondsman agrees to post the necessary bond so the defendant can be released from jail.

This agreement is backed by an insurance company contract signed by the person and the bondsman on behalf of the insurance company.  There has to be enough cash or collateral to cover the full amount of the bond in case the defendant misses his or her court date. Only a person who has been licensed by the State Department of Insurance may post a surety bond.

Why would I hire a bondsman?  If you don’t have the cash to cover the full bond amount and the Sheriff’s fee, you may wish to hire a bondsman to bond yourself or someone else out of jail.

Also, as mentioned above, sometimes the Court keeps a cash bond.  If you are bonding someone out of jail and you don’t want to take the chance that all or part of your cash will be used to pay the defendant’s court fines, fees and restitution, you might want to hire a bail bondsman.

How much does a surety bond cost?  The fees are constantly changing.

How do I post a surety bond?  Call any one of the bail bondsmen listed on the internet. The defendant and a cosigner will be required to sign the bond agent’s contract.

If I’m a consignor, what will I have to do?  If the defendant misses a court date, you may be expected to help the bondsman find the defendant, to pay the bondsman’s expenses for finding the defendant, and to pay the full amount of the bond if the defendant cannot be found.

If I go through a bond agent to post a surety bond, will I get my money and collateral back? You will not get the surety bond fee or the Sheriff’s fee back.  Whether you get the rest of your money or your collateral back depends on what you and your bondsman agreed to in the contract.  Every contract is different.

BEFORE SIGNING ANY CONTRACTS OR PROMISSORY NOTES, MAKE SURE YOU READ THROUGH THEM CAREFULLY.  BE SURE YOU UNDERSTAND THEM.  ALWAYS GET COPIES OF ALL DOCUMENTS YOU SIGN AT THE TIME YOU SIGN THEM.

Property Bonds
How do I post a property bond?  Because using your property as bond is complicated, please call your attorney.

More Information
What if I can’t afford to lose the money I used to bond someone out of jail?  Never bond someone out of jail if you cannot afford to lose that money or if you can’t afford to wait for several months to get it back.  Remember, even if the defendant makes all court appearances, the Court can use the cash bond to pay fines and fees.  In the world of bonding people out of jail, there are no guarantees.

Note: The Sheriff’s fee can change without notice.
This information is to provide you with basic information only.
Every case is different and some are very complicated.

About Us
We only practice criminal defense and we only practice in New Jersey.
Helping clients is our passion. Helping people accused of committing criminal offenses is why we became defense attorneys. We pride ourselves in outworking other lawyers through our exhaustive preparation and absolute determination to get the best possible results for all of our clients.

We maintain constant contact with our clients, patiently explain every step involved, but above all, we are completely honest in setting our client’s expectations. We welcome your call or email and would love the opportunity to help you.

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