What is a Jail Bond?

Felicia Dye
Felicia Dye
Businessman with a briefcase
Businessman with a briefcase

In many instances, when a person is arrested, he is charged with one or more crimes which will require him to appear in court. Jail bond refers to assets used to assure that an individual will make his court appearances if he is released from jail before his case is completed. Jail bond is not a right. If a court deems it necessary, it can deny an individual this opportunity.

Jail bonds are usually set by a court official, such as a judge or magistrate. The amount is determined by a number of factors, such as the severity of the crime and the court’s assessment of a person’s likelihood to flee. Once a bond amount is set, a person can bail himself out if he has the means. If he does not, he can get another person to post his bail. Generally, the only restriction in this matter is that the person who bails another out must be at least 18 years old.

There are several ways that a jail bond can be paid. A person may pay cash. A person may employ the services of a bail bondsman or similar agent. Personal property may also be used if it has sufficient value and equity.

There is a common misconception about bond that should be considered before a person volunteers her assets to help bail someone out of jail. Many people believe their assets will be returned if the accused individual shows up for his first court appearance. Bail bond, however, is used to assure authorities that the individual will show up for all of his court appearances. This means that the assets used for the jail bond will not be released until the case has concluded.

If a person misses a court appearance, the amount given for his jail bond may be retained by the authorities. In some instances, jurisdictions have rules that offer the possibility that some or all of the assets may be returned. If the individual is arrested within a certain period of time, the assets may be returned. If the person who posted his bail turns him in within a certain period of time, she may also be able to have her assets returned.

A person cannot revoke a jail bond she has posted for an individual simply by changing her mind. If she no longer wishes to use her assets as assurance, it is generally necessary for her to have the person return to jail. If he does so, she should be able to have her assets released before the conclusion of his case.

If a person’s bail will be posted with his own assets, he may want to make sure it is done in his name. Otherwise, he places his assets at risk. For example, consider a situation where Greg tells Jane he has money in a location and sends Jane to get it to post his bail. If Jane’s name appears on the receipt, any amounts refunded at the end of Greg’s case will be issued to Jane.

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