Q: What to look for when choosing a bail bond company?
A: Integrity and trust are the biggest factors. You are trusting your bail bond agent with your freedom and assets. That includes your valuables and the future of your loved ones. A good bail bond agent is a professional who provides aid throughout the entire court process. Also, observe how they answer their phones, if they treat you with respect both before and after you pay your money for their services. Be careful of the bondsman who takes your money and find any excuse to put your love ones back in jail for no reason legally by law.
Q: What is a Bail Bond?
A: A bail bond is a contractual undertaking guaranteed by a state licensed bail bondsman who is backed by an insurance company. The bail agent guarantees to the court payment of the full amount of the bond if the defendant fails to appear for their scheduled court appearances.
Q: What factors are used in deciding the bail amount?
A: The judges who set bail usually have several major factors they use when deciding whether to set bail.
Seriousness of the Charge
The more serious the charges against the person, the more likely a high bail amount will be set. For example, someone that is charged with armed robbery will have to post higher bail than someone charged with shoplifting. If the charge is serious enough such as murder or kidnapping, no bail maybe set. The accused is held in jail until trial.
Prior Criminal History
If the accused has a prior criminal history, then their chances of having a higher bail set (or even being remanded) increase. Also, the number of prior convictions, their seriousness, and the time at which they were committed play into the judge’s decision.
Q: Do I always need collateral for a bail bond?
A: We often negotiate no collateral bail bonds. These are called signature bonds. Signature only bonds are based on your credit worthiness and are approved on a case by case basis. 10% Premium rate is still required.
Q: What is collateral?
A: Collateral is something of value that is used to secure a debt or ensure payment. Sometimes a bail bond company will receive collateral in order to ensure that the defendant appears in court. Most bail bond collateral is in the form of car titles, real estate, stock, bonds or cash. A bail bond company must return your collateral at the resolution of the case.
Q: If I use collateral for a bail bond, when do I get it back?
A: When the bond has been ordered exonerated by the court. This happens when:
- The charges are dropped.
- The person enters into a negotiated plea and is sentenced.
- The person is granted deferred entry of judgement.
- The person is found innocent at trial.
- The person is sentenced at trial.
Court jurisdictions send written confirmation of the bond exoneration. Some quickly, others are behind and may require some research.
Q: Do I get the 10% Premium rate back after the case is over?
A: No, This fee is what allowed the defendant to get out of jail and is fully earned by the bondsman once the defendant is released from custody. For example, if the defendant gets rearrested a week later, you get neither a portion nor a refund of any money. If the bondsman fails to live up to his end of the contract, then and only then may you be entitled to a refund of some kind.
If collateral is needed to secure the bond, yes you would get the collateral back once the case is discharged and we receive the discharge papers from the Clerk of Courts.
Q: Are some bondsmen less expensive than others?
A: Bondsmen are licensed by the state in which they practice. State guidelines provide a set rate. Florida has a set Premium rate of 10%. We do not negotiate bail premium, it is ILLEGAL!
Consider this, If a bail agent is breaking the law by price-cutting, do you think that same agent would return your collateral? Would they surrender your loved one back to jail without cause?
Q: Do you offer financing or payment plan options?
A: We realize that the cost of a bail bond may be more than you have readily available. If you qualify, we can work out a payment plan that you can afford.
*Choosing a bail bonds agency in Melbourne can be one of the most critical decisions you make when someone has been arrested. The service you’ll receive is vastly different at every bail bonds agency in Melbourne, despite the set fees regulated by the Florida Department of Insurance. At AAmerican Bailbonds, we understand that no two circumstances are the same. That’s why it’s important to choose an agency that will listen to your needs and carefully construct a plan, just for you.