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What Are Bail Bonds and Why You May Need Them

Along with lawyers and legal trouble, when someone is arrested, they may go to court for a bail hearing. Once the judge announces the bail amount, the defendants must either pay the bail or go to jail awaiting trial. Since many defendants do not have the liquid cash to pay their bail, they could seek assistance from a bail bonds company.

Bail Explained

Bail is a monetary assurance that a defendant makes their scheduled court appearances when released from custody. In many instances, a judge could release someone without bail. Non-violent first-offenders might successfully request a release on their recognizance. However, other defendants may look at a high bail amount because of the seriousness of the charges against them.

So, if a defendant puts up $20,000 to cover their bail, they would forfeit the bail amount if they do not show up in court. The failure to appear would lead to a bench warrant and the likely forfeiture of the posted bail. If the police arrest a bench-warrant fugitive, the person would more than likely have to remain in jail until the final adjudication of the criminal charges.

Unfortunately, some people face high bail amounts. These defendants may not even be guilty of the charges brought against them. However, they cannot pay their bail. Thankfully, an option might exist for them: working with a bail bonds company.

Bail as a Business Transaction

A bail bonds company provides a service to people who cannot afford bail. A bail bonds enterprise puts up the money for the bail after receiving a deposit. Typically, the defendant pays the bail bonds company a 10% fee, and the company keeps that fee when the person shows up in court. So, someone dealing with a $25,000 bail amount would pay the bail bonds service $2,500, which becomes the company’s fee.

The Bail Bond Company’s Risks

It would appear that the bail bonds company takes a risk by putting up the money and risking a 90% loss. Popular culture made bounty hunters famous, but don’t assume that the bail bonds business always relies on these professionals to track down fugitives. It could be far easier to claim collateral or take action with a co-signer.

Yes, working with a bail bonds company shares similarities with applying for a loan. The bail service wants to avoid risking its business by losing its deposits with the courts. Requiring the defendant to put up collateral could cover those losses. If the defendant does not have collateral to cover a high bail amount, they may ask friends or family to co-sign the deal and put up collateral on their behalf.

Breaking Up the Deposit

Not everyone has the money to pay the bail company an upfront deposit. Some businesses may offer “no money upfront” deals or accept payments made in installments. In short, a Los Angeles bail bonds service might be flexible with someone who qualifies for such arrangements.

A defendant may appreciate the flexibility that allows them to post bail. Leaving jail comes with potential upsides when facing criminal charges.

Working with an Attorney

Anyone facing a potential prison sentence likely wishes to mount a successful defense. The same would apply to misdemeanor charges that could leave someone with a permanent criminal record. It might be far more productive to find and work with an attorney while out on bail rather than sitting in county jail.

Going to Work

An employer might not be willing to hold a job for someone whose sitting in county jail for several weeks. Even if the employer has patience and sympathy, the defendant won’t be earning a living awaiting their release. Posting bail could allow someone to resume their normal routine and return to work before their next court appearance. Remaining employed may enable the person to continue to support themselves and their family.

Handling Other Responsibilities

People have responsibilities that don’t go away when legal troubles impact their lives. Securing a release through bail could afford someone the ability to look after their children or elderly parents, among other critical personal tasks. Such things could be impossible while incarcerated and awaiting trial.

Those worried about a conviction could take advantage of the freedom bail provides to make arrangements with their family members before serving time.


A bail bonds company could help someone secure their release from jail pending their next court appearance. Regaining their freedom allows defendants to take care of personal responsibilities before their trial.

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