When someone is accused of a crime, getting released from jail is a top priority. An arrest may not follow with a conviction, and keeping your life as steady and normal as possible during the pretrial period is very important. If you are offered bail, you may be released by posting a bond. Read on to find out why you might use or need collateral and what happens after the entire experience is complete.
What Is a Bail Bond?
Bail is a sum of money paid to the courts to gain a release from jail. You must agree to return to face the judge and agree to a number of other conditions before release is granted. With bail amounts being in the thousands of dollars, many people are unable to afford to pay the full amount. That is where bail bonding companies come in. These agencies are not a part of the justice system, but they offer those incarcerated a less-expensive way to get out of jail. Bail bonds charge the purchaser a premium, which is a percentage point of the full bail amount. For example, if the full bail costs $10,000, the bail bond might be 15% of that amount or just $1,500.
What Is Collateral?
In some cases, collateral comes into play. Collateral is a piece of property that is tendered in addition to the bail bond. Collateral can be:
- Anything else of value
How Collateral Is Used
When collateral is required, it becomes the temporary possession of the bail bonding agency. Collateral is meant to bridge the gap between the premium fee you paid for the bond and the actual bail amount. For example, in the above example of a $10,000 bail charge, the remainder of the bail amounts to $8,500. The bonding agency might end up being responsible for that bail if the accused fails to show up in court or violates the bail agreement in some manner. Collateral is only sacrificed when that happens. If the accused follows the rules, the collateral is returned to the owner once the conditions have been met. In most cases, that occurs when any one of the following requirements are met:
- The defendant appears for all court dates.
- The charges are dropped against the defendant.
- The defendant has been sentenced.
- The defendant is found innocent.
Losing property through bail bonds collateral is easily avoided by following the rules of court. Speak to a bail bondsman in your city to find out more about collateral.