The United States is the country with the highest incarceration rate in the world. You may think it’s China, given the Asian country’s expansive population. The Chinese prisons contain less than 2 million criminals; however, American gaols held 2.3 million in 2016. Two decades ago, our penitentiaries housed one-fourth of the world’s total criminal population. The statistics show it’s probable for every 20th person in the States to get incarcerated during his/her lifetime. Many people find themselves hindered to release their loved ones from custody. So, they seek help from bail bond agents to find an escape route for the guilty. But, before you contact an agent, you must be aware of some concrete facts.
Facts to Remember Before Contacting A Bonding Agency
1) Bail bonds are loans:
Bail acts as a sort of insurance between the defendant and the judicial system. Suppose the person can’t afford the required amount of money. In that case, a bonding agency will help him/her secure an escape from detention. For 10% of the total amount, the agency will bail you out by loaning some money. They will keep your property as collateral in case the person jumps the bail. If the defendant is found not guilty, you’ll get the bail money back. So, it’s just cash a bonding company loans you temporarily.
2) It can’t be excessive:
The American justice system accepts the principle of innocent until proven guilty. The idea behind granting the right to bail was to prevent the defendant from getting imprisoned before conviction. But an excessive amount of bail would only benefit the rich, and the poor won’t be able to afford it. That’s why the modern world has regulations preventing unaffordable bails. The English Bill of Rights (1688/1689) suggests not imposing unnecessary bails/fines. The 8th Amendment to the Constitution also has an ‘Excessive Bail Clause.’ We’ve seen how back in 2004, Michael Jackson’s attorney has made an argument for lowering his “grossly excessive” bail.
3) The state determines bond fees:
The state determines the percentage a bond agency can demand from you. In Connecticut, you only pay 10% of the first $5,000 and then 7% if it’s more than that. So, don’t get scammed by an unreliable bondsman. Seek the services of professionals such as 3D Bail Bonds in Hartford to ease your pretrial release procedure. Don’t partner with suspicious ones who wish to negotiate a bargain for the bail bond. Never forget that bond fees are subject to state-enforced laws.
4) Court appearings aren’t enough:
The primary condition to fulfill after your pretrial release is to attend all court proceedings. But court appearings aren’t the only particulars required from a defendant. The court may ask you to enroll yourself in a drug/alcohol education program. You may have to spend some time doing community services. In some cases, the defendant can’t leave the city/state without risking his/her collateral.
Moreover, restrictions may include a curfew, not possessing firearms, wearing a tracking device, or having no contact with fellow defendants. Violating these conditions can lead to the confiscation of the collateral or the offered cash. Pretrial release isn’t complete freedom!
5) Bail isn’t always monetary:
The defendant can also acquire pretrial release without paying a single dime. The judge can let the accused go on his/her recognizance. It’s a verbal promise between the judge and the defendant that the latter shall appear for his/her trial. You can get this sort of bail if:
- You have an excellent criminal record.
- The judge thinks you’re not a flight risk.
- You have family in the area or have a job.
- You have a history of attending court proceedings.
- The offense was non-violent, or the defendant isn’t dangerous.
6) Not every state allows it:
Bail bonds are a luxury (if they are a luxury!) not available in all states such as Oregon, Illinois, Kentucky, and Wisconsin. If you live in Maine or Nebraska, bail bondsman can’t assist you with their services. Being incarcerated in these states leads to defendants bailing themselves out. We see that even the Constitution allows you the right to bail; this right isn’t for everyone. The court can deny you bail if the judge thinks you’re a flight risk. You can also lose the right to bail if the crime was:
- Armed robbery
- First-degree sexual conduct
7) Bail jumping is risky:
Skipping your court hearings isn’t something you should think of doing as a defendant. If it gets proven that you evaded your scheduled appearance after receiving the notification, you can lose the bail money. In some states, jumping bail is equivalent to contempt of court. The state can come up with a new charge and add more fines against you. A warrant may get issued for your immediate arrest if you also fail to surrender afterward. So, don’t let your carelessness mess up your case.
8) It’s bounty hunting:
The profession of bail bond agents is the modern equivalent of bounty hunting. We no longer officially call them bounty hunters (as it sounds both archaic and barbaric). There’s one last crucial fact you must remember for your interest. Recovery/fugitive agents only exist in the United States and its former colony Philippines. This profession is illegal in other countries. Criminal justice professors call this “a very American invention.” Humanity has a universal repulsion for this system where defendants need to pay an outsider to secure their freedom. Many Americans have raised objections over bail bonds’ morality and if they contribute to people’s misery.
A bail bond agent will need some collateral from you in exchange for the money they’re loaning to you. This collateral can be a vehicle, piece of jewelry, credit card, real estate property, or stock certificate. Collateral assures the agency that they’ll get their investment back if something goes wrong. If you’re low on cash, a bondsman is your quickest source to urgently needed money for bail. For a minimal fee, you can get your loved one out of jail before the trial begins.
America has one of the densest prisons in the world. The peaceful state of Connecticut has a higher incarceration rate than the UK or France. Statistics show that some 5% of Americans will get jailed sometime in the future. Men have a worse chance of going to prison than women. Similarly, Hispanics and African-Americans are more likely to be imprisoned than Caucasian citizens. People seek the services of a bonding agency to release their loved ones from incarceration. You should know that bail bonds are loans that guarantee a person’s compliance with the state during court proceedings. Such necessary details can help you make an informed decision before you contact a bail bond agent.