In the American justice system, bail bonds are an incredibly powerful tool. When bail is set at an amount beyond what you, your family, or your closest friends can muster, bail bonds allow you to pay a percentage of the total and still secure your freedom, but most people don’t really know how bail bonds work.
Popularized by crime and law dramas on television, bail bonds hold an interesting place in the American mind. Popular culture has positioned them as tools wielded by both the poor and the wealthy as a means of either seeking justice or delaying it respectively. However, they rarely if ever actually examine the origins of bail or how the bail bonds process actually works. Reality television shows have glorified bounty hunters, but not necessarily provided much real context for citizens.
In today’s post from Wanna Get Out Bail Bonds in Oahu, we will explore bail bonds and learn some little known facts, helping to answer the question of how bail bonds work. If you’re in need of help with posting bail for yourself, a family member, or a friend, get in touch with Wanna Get Out Bail Bonds on Oahu today by calling (833) 202-8559 or you can also fill out our online form.
Otherwise, read on!
Bail Must Be Set At a Reasonable Level
The Eighth Amendment of the Constitution of the United States clearly states:
“Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.”
This tradition of “fair” bail has been around from the beginning. You see, under English monarchs, colonists could be subjected to such steep penalties, fines, and punishments for crimes that they had no hope of ever getting out of jail. The system was built to be punitive and was often wielded as a political tool of the ruling class.
Our founding fathers determined that there should be a more reasonable way for citizens to address charges brought against them, and one of their ideas was the ability to pay for release until an appointed court date. To this very day, posting bail allows defendants to return to their normal lives and begin planning their legal defense without the constraints of being incarcerated.
Commercial Bail Bonds Are Not Available Everywhere in the US
Although the vast majority of states in the US do allow commercial bail bond companies to operate, there are a few that don’t. Maine, Wisconsin, Nebraska, Illinois, Oregon, Kentucky, and Washington, D.C. do not endorse commercial bail bonds. So if you get into legal trouble in one of these states and get arrested, you’re stuck footing the bill all on your own.
Thankfully, the state of Hawaii does allow for bail bond assistance through the use of a private company, meaning that Wanna Get Out Bail Bonds can be here for you 24 hours a day, 365 days a year when you need us.
Bonus Fact: The United States and the Philippines (a former US territory) are the only two countries that have a commercial bail bond industry.
Bail Money Isn’t Always Required
The popular image is that bail is always set an incredibly high level, but as we discussed earlier, popular perception and the way that bail bonds actually work are two very different things. This might be true for some people and some crimes — such as people who are considered a serious flight risk or for felony crimes that involve violence or murder. And if it is, bail might be set high in order to ensure that the defendant is available at their trial.
However, in the case of first-time offenders, misdemeanor crimes, and other certain cases, a judge may impose a very small bail amount, or they may even allow the accused to be released to their home on their own recognizance. In other words, the judge simply requires a promise from the defendant that they will show up for their court date. In this case, no bail is needed.
Bounty Hunters Are a Very Real Thing
Let us just start by saying that you should never skip your court date. First of all, it doesn’t look good and goes a long way towards hurting your case for innocence when you inevitably are brought to trial down the road. Secondly, depending on how much money the bail bond company you worked with lost, they may send a bounty hunter after you.
Bounty hunters are privately employed agents that are empowered to track and capture bond breakers who have fled or skipped a court date. Unlike police, who face a mountain of red tape and are constricted by their own jurisdictions when seeking fugitives, bounty hunters can cross state lines, use non-lethal force within reason, and even enter your property without a warrant.
Footing The Bill Yourself Can Be Risky
Given that the cost of bail can vary greatly, you may be able to afford the entire cost yourself. However, most people don’t have $5,000 to $50,000 extra just laying around. That’s what makes working with a bail bond company like Wanna Get Out Bail Bonds such a good idea. When you work with a professional bail bondsman, you only need to pay a portion of the total bail — in our case, 10%.
When you decide to pay it yourself, you are putting all of your hard-earned money on the line for an uncertain outcome. The consequences of a decision like that can be life-changing and not usually in a good kind of way. Should you miss a court date or other requirement, you will have broken your covenant with the court and your money will be lost.
For the vast majority of people, utilizing the services of a bail bond company like Wanna Get Out Bail Bonds is the significantly more affordable and safer way to go.
There Can Be More To it Than Showing Up For a Court Date
Law and Order: SVU strikes again. Most Americans are under the assumption that when it comes to posting bail, all one needs to do is show up for a court date and your money is returned. This is patently false. Much more often than not, the amount of bail that you — or a bail bonds company — has paid is attached to multiple court dates.
Additionally, rehab programs, counseling, substance abuse education, and other court-mandated appointments are also attached to your bail, meaning that if you go wrong at any point along the way, your money is at risk. A judge can even mandate that you remain within the jurisdiction of their court. In other words, leaving the state, or even the county, might be considered a violation of your terms of bail.
Collateral Can Be Lots of Different Things
Another common misconception as to how bail bonds work surrounds the rules about collateral. Collateral is not required to get a bail bond from a local bail bondsman. Typically, you only need to provide collateral in a situation where you are unable to pay the fee charged for your bail bond. In a situation like this, collateral can take many different forms ranging from jewelry to cars to real estate to stocks or many other forms of valuables.
Get Expert Advice And Affordable Rates From Wanna Get Out Bail Bonds
Hopefully, after reading today’s fun and insightful article about how bail bonds work, you know a little more than you did before. At Wanna Get Out Bail Bonds in Oahu, we’re all about helping our customers get everything they need to make a good decision, navigate the bail bonds process smoothly, and secure a speedy release from jail for themselves or a loved one.
If you find yourself, a friend, or a family member have been arrested and charged with a crime, make sure to call the local bail bonds team with the experience, reputation, and track record you won’t find anywhere else on the island. Call Wanna Get Out Bail Bonds at (833) 202-8559 today for help at any time of day or night.