If you or a loved one find yourself behind bars, you will most likely be granted bail. Bail is designed to allow you to work and build a defense while you await your trial. However, most people don't know much about the bail process. Here is some information that you should know if you or a loved one end up behind bars.
What is a Surety Bond?
A surety bond is a contract among three different parties that will help you to get out of bail. Those three parties include:
- The Obligee - This is the party who is the recipient of an obligation. In this case, the court is the obligee.
- The Principal - This is the primary party who will perform the contractual obligation. You are the principal party.
- The Surety - This is the party who assures the obligee that the principal can perform the tasks they are obligated to. This would be the bail bonds company.
A surety bond, also sometimes referred to as just a surety, is a promise by the bail bonds company to pay the courts a certain amount of money if you fail to fulfill the terms of your bail. In most cases, this means that the bail bonds company will have to pay your entire bail if you fail to show up to court and the bail bonds company can find you to make you go. The bond protects the courts from defendants running away while on bail.
Typically, the bail bonds company will pay an annual fee in exchange for the ability to free defendants from jail without posting the full amount of bond on their behalf. If a defendant fails to show, the bail bonds company typically has a set amount of time to produce the defendant or pay the bail amount of the defendant that ran.
Frequently Asked Questions About Surety Bonds
What Are Court Bonds?
Court bonds are a type of bond that is dictated by statutes and related to courts. Court bonds are typically broken down into judicial and fiduciary bonds.
A judicial bond includes bail bonds. This is the type of bond that can be posted to ensure you will appear in court after being released from jail. If you fail to follow the rules of your release, or you fail to show up to court, your bail money will be forfeited. A court bond is posted directly to the courts on your behalf. For example, if your bail is $5,000, and you can afford to pay that full amount, bail can be paid to the courts for your release. If you abide by the terms of your bail, the money will be released to you after you are sentenced. If you don't show up for court, you lose this money.
If your bail is set too high, and you can't afford to pay the full amount of the court bond on your own, you will want to go through a bail bonds company and get a court surety bond. The bond company will post bail on your account, but then they take on the risk of you not showing up for court. If you fail to show, they lose money.
What Does a Court Surety Bond Cost?
In Utah, bail bondsman are legally allowed to charge you a nonrefundable fee of 10 to 20 percent of your bail amount. If your bail amount is $10,000, they can legally charge anywhere from $1,000 to $2,000. In addition to this, the jail charges a $5.00 fee for each warrant the inmate is bailed out on. This is to cover administrative fees related to bail. As such, if you have three warrants, there is a $15 fee to place bail. A bail bonds company will charge this amount in addition to the bail amount. It is important to note that the money you give a bail bonds company is not refundable. You are paying this fee for them to post bail on your behalf and it is not refundable if the charges get dropped, dismissed or you are sentenced.
There are many factors that affect the amount of bail you receive, including your past criminal history, the severity of the crimes you have committed and the type of offense that was committed. Utah has a uniformity code that lists specific bails amounts for specific crimes. As such, a bail bonds company can't help you lower your bail amount. If you need to lower the amount, you will need to request a bond hearing with the courts.