A bail bond attorney has a dual function as both a client's lawyer and a partial bail bondsman. In addition to defending a client in court and attempting to prove the client's innocence, this person also acquires the necessary funds to have the client released on bail. The bail bond attorney also must keep accurate billing records, cooperate with authorities if the client skips bail and get back the bail money after the trial is complete.
The primary responsibility of a bail bond attorney is to act as a client's defender in court. This means that the attorney must be an expert in the laws of the country. He or she will work with police reports and the client to create a plan of action and decide how best to defend that client in court. Many times, the attorney must tailor that plan to appeal to a jury or to a presiding judge, depending on the type of case.
The second half of the job for a bail bond attorney is less traditional. In addition to acting as the client's defender, the attorney also must secure bail for the client's release. Bail is an amount of money set by a judge that, if paid, allows for a suspect's release from prison during the trial. The judge normally bases the amount of bail on the severity of the crime and the suspect's criminal history. For example, a murder suspect with a long list of prior crimes will have a much higher bail than a first-time theft suspect. The bail money acts as collateral for the suspect's court appearances and normally can be negotiated by the attorney.
A bail bond attorney does not post the bail money himself or herself but rather helps the client post the funds. The most common route is finding a bail bondsman, a professional who loans money specifically for posting bails. Other times, the client will post the bail in cash, or the client will post a property deed.
In addition to finding bail money and acting as the defense lawyer, a bail bond attorney also has a few other duties. It is important for a bail bond attorney to keep track of billing so that the client will know how much is owed after the trial. Also, it is a serious offense if the client does not come to court while out on bail, the attorney is expected to help find the client if that happens. Missing a court appearance also results in a loss of the bail money. When the trial is over and the client has made all required court appearances, it is the attorney's final duty to retrieve the bail money from the court system and return it to the client.