January 22, 2016

FAQ and Helpful Resources

Frequently Asked Questions about Bail Bonds

This collection of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) provides brief answers to many of the common questions about bail bonds and about our company, All American Bail Bonds Colorado. If you cannot find the answer to your question, please email us or give us a call.

What is Bail?

Bail is the condition of release before trial for a criminal defendant.  Its purpose is to ensure the appearance of the defendant in court so that justice may be served, whether that is a finding of guilty or not guilty

Are There Different Kinds of Bonds?

Yes, there are several types of bonds.

  • Surety Bonds: These are the type of bonds written by a professional bondsman; they are typically provided at a cost of 10-15% of the total amount of the bond (the maximum rate allowed by law is 15% in Colorado).  The balance is secured by a cosignor, collateral, or some combination of both.  If someone is simply signing this is known as a “signature bond”.
  • Property Bond: The Court may allow the bond to be satisfied by having someone pledge real estate secured by a deed of trust.  In this case the County or State would hold a mortgage against the real property pledged and it could be forfeit if the defendant fails to appear.  The property must have equity in excess of the amount of the bond and, like a cash bond it may be very difficult to remedy any forfeiture and require the services of an attorney.  Property bonds can only be done during certain hours of the day or week depending on the court.
  • Personal Recognizance (PR): The Court may release a defendant based on their promise to appear at future court dates.  This is typically done for minor offenses and/or with individuals the court deems to be very stable and responsible relative to the pending charges.
  • Citation/Cite-Out: This would be analogous to a traffic ticket.  The accused is given a ticket and told when to appear in court, or in some cases simply pay a fine by a certain date.
  • Pre-Trial Release: This occurs when a Judge orders the defendant to report to and submit to supervision by the County’s Pre-Trial Services.  Pre-Trial Services will then require at a minimum that the defendant check in periodically.  They may also require random drug and alcohol testing, ankle monitoring, continual alcohol monitoring (SCRAM), or several other forms of supervision.  There may be significant costs to the defendant associated with this monitoring.  It can be very much like being on probation before you have been convicted.
  • Walk-Through Bonds: A walk-through bond is generally a cash/surety/property bond that is done by the defendant voluntarily going in to authorities before they are arrested and having the means to secure their release in place.  The defendant may arrange with the bondsman to post the bond and then do so in several different jurisdictions without actually going to jail.  The bond will be taken and a court date assigned.
What Am I Going to Have to Pay for a Bond?

Typically a bond will be 10% and by law a bondsman may charge no more than 15% for a bail bond and the minimum is $50.00.  Payments plan may be an option also, but some money will be paid down.  For example an $20,000.00 bond would be $2,0000.00.  In addition, each jail has its own booking/bond fees that vary by county, but range from $10-$50 per bond.

What is a Cosigner and What are There Responsibilities?

A cosignor is typically a family member or close friend that is financially responsible for the bond if the defendant fails to appear in court.  A cosignor should also be familiar enough with the defendant that they can alert the bondsman of any potential problems that arise before they become too large.

Is a Cosigner Required? If So, Why?

Generally a cosignor is required.  Cosignors serve several purposes.  The obvious purpose is to secure the bondsman against loss on the bond.  Also, a cosignor presumably knows the defendant quite well and would not want to assume risk for the defendant’s appearance if they were likely to run away.  Finally, the cosignor presumably has frequent contact with the defendant in their personal life and can alert the bondsman to any problems proactively.

What if the Defendant Misses Court?

The answer to this depends on the specific circumstances of the defendant’s “failure to appear” (FTA).  If the defendant simply made a mistake such as confusing court dates, and is cooperative, then a “Consent of Surety” may be filed and a new court date set.  This is done at no cost to the cosignor or defendant.  If; however, the defendant is not cooperative and refuses to come in to clear up the problem then the bondsman or someone he contracts with will have to track down and apprehend the defendant to prevent forfeiture of the bond.  This obviously costs money and that cost will be the responsibility of the cosignor, but it is better than losing the entire amount of the bond.  If the defendant cannot be located in time; the cosignor is responsible for the entire amount of the bond.

Are There Any Additional Costs?

As long as the defendant makes their court dates voluntarily there are no additional costs, excepting any payment plans for premium, after the bond is posted.  The maximum liability for a cosignor is the face amount of the bond.  If a cosignor refuses to pay then there may be additional costs from collection fees, attorneys’ fees, and accrued interest on any outstanding balances.

When is the Bond Over?

The bond is over when the court has “released” it.  This occurs when there is a finding of not-guilty, guilty, nolo-contendre (no contest), or the defendant has been returned to custody by the bondsman for non-compliance with conditions of bond.  A bondsman may consent to continue the bond through sentencing.

What if the Charges are Dismissed or I'm Found Not Guilty?

Then the bond is over.  You do not; however, get your premium back because the bond was utilized.

What are Immigration Bonds?

Immigration bonds are to ensure that a person proceeding through immigration hearings will appear and if so ordered, depart the country.  They are similar, but somewhat different from “bail bonds”.  You should call our office for specific information.

What Can I Do to Make the Process Easier?

Have the defendant’s information ready; what jail, date of birth, amount of bond, charges, etc.  Have the potential cosignor available to answer a few questions.  In general if you are cooperative everything will go as fast as possible.  We want to be of rapid service.