If you have never been asked to help arrange Moorpark bail bonds before you probably have little understanding as to how the process works. There is a lot of misinformation about how bail works and you will want to be sure you are clear about the responsibilities you’ll take on when you cosign for the defendant.
Clients often think their money will be returned. This is not true. The bondsman’s fee is earned in full at the time the defendant is released from jail. That fee will not be refunded in part or in full no matter the outcome of the defendant’s case. It does not matter if charges are not filed, if they are found not guilty or if the matter is dismissed. If you have signed up for a payment plan you will need to continue to pay off the balance until it is resolved. If you stop paying your account will be forwarded to collections, the credit bureaus will be notified and your credit score will suffer. The only time money is refunded is if you pay cash bail. This is done by posting the defendant’s full bail amount, in cash, with the jail or the court. As long as they make all their required court appearances that money will be refunded, less administrative fees, after the case is over.
Another misconception is that every bondsman needs to be paid in cash, in full, before the defendant can get out of jail. This more depends on the company you choose to hire. Every bondsman is required by state law to charge the same, 10% rate. This does not mean that each company is like the next. Some only accept cash while others accept Visa, MasterCard, Discover, American Express, debit cards, wire transfer, Western Union, or direct bank deposit. Some offer payment plans. Of those, company A might require the full balance be paid off within a year while company B will work with clients on a case by case basis. The terms and conditions for bail bonds payment plans can vary widely. You will want to find out if the person you’re speaking with charges an application fee, interest or financing fees. Is there a set monthly payment amount? Is there a penalty for paying off the balance early? Do you need to put a set percentage down or can they work with you based on your individual financial situation? These are all important things to consider.
Both you and the defendant will want to remember that just because they have been released from custody this is not to say their legal troubles are over. They will still need to go to court on a set date and time in order to resolve their case. If they are facing a minor charge they might only need to appear once. If their case is very complex they may need to attend several hearings.
If you have additional questions about how bail works or the responsibilities you’ll take on when you cosign a bail bonds agreement form be sure to ask the person who is helping you.