Understanding the bail bond process, including knowing common terms used by judges and the courts, can help defendants and their families make sound legal decisions. Contact Armstrong Bail Bonds today with other questions, concerns, or legal advice.
Bail Bond FAQs & Common Bail Bonds Terms
Q: What Is a Bail Bond Agent?
A: A bail bond agent is any person or company that pledges the full cost of bail to ensure an arrested person (defendant) appears in criminal court. All bail agents are required by law to be certified by the State of California.
Q: Why Do I Need A Bail Bond Agent Like Armstrong?
A: Bail bond agents can help facilitate the release of an arrested individual (defendant) if the total bail amount is too great to be paid by the defendant or their family. Because all bail bond companies charge the same premium—10% by law—experience is crucial for negotiating a fast release of your loved one.
Q: What Is Bail?
A: Bail is money, property, or some other form of collateral pledged to a court to in exchange for the release an arrested person from jail. Bail is posted, often through a bail bond agent, with the understanding that the defendant will return for trial.
Q: What Is a Bail Bond?
A: A bail bond is a form of payment presented to the courts in return for the release of an arrested person (defendant). Though the defendant’s friend or family (indemnitor) only pays 10% of the bond to a bail bond agent initially, the full amount of the bond will become payable if the defendant fails to appear in court.
Q: What is a Defendant?
A: A person arrested for committing a misdemeanor or felony violation of the law. This person is required to appear in court to answer pending charges, but may remain at home (instead of in jail) until their court date if they are able to pay bail or arrange for a bail bond agent to pay bail on their behalf.
Q: What Is Collateral?
A: Collateral is personal property—a house, a piece of land, jewelry, or electronics—that an indemnitor pledges to a bail agency to secure the bail amount in the event the defendant fails to appear in court. Collateral is returned to the owner once the defendant’s case is finalized.
Q: When Is Armstrong Bail Bonds Available?
A: Since you never know when you, a friend, or a loved may be arrested, Armstrong Bail Bonds is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year to handle all your bail bond needs. If a client is unable to come to our Glendale bail bond office, one of Armstrong’s professional bondsmen will gladly meet you at home, at work, at the jail, or at the police station.
Q: What Happens If Forfeiture Occurs?
A: If a defendant fails to appear in court, also called a “forfeiture,” a warrant will be issued for the person’s arrest. To clear the warrant, the defendant must reschedule their court date; Armstrong Bail Bonds regularly helps clients file these types of motions. If future court appearances are met, the bond will be exonerated.
Q: What Is A Reinstatement?
A: A reinstatement is a process by which a defendant who has failed to appear in court may have their warrant removed and bail bond reactivated or “reinstated” by the court. Reinstatements may result in additional fees to the indemnitor or defendant.
Q: What Is A Summary Judgment?
A: A summary judgment is made if a defendant fails to appear in court and ALSO fails to seek reinstatement before the deadline for doing so passes. Once a summary judgment is issued by the courts, the full bail amount becomes due.
Q: What Does It Mean To Be “Cited Out”?
A: A person who is “cited out” is given a citation (ticket) and promises to pay the citation fine or appear in court at an appointed time. Because no jail time is required during the citing out process, no bail is required. A warrant will be issued is the defendant fails to pay the citation fine or appear in court on their scheduled date.
Q: What Does It Mean To Be Released On One’s “Own Recognizance”?
A: When a defendant is released from jail on their Own Recognizance (O.R.), he or she signs a written agreement that they will appear in court on their appoint court date, but otherwise, no bail is required. O.R. is usually reserved for lesser, non-violent crimes.
Q: What Is An Indemnitor?
A: An indemnitor is a person, usually a friend of relative of an arrested person, who pays the 10% premium fee to the bail bond company and signs the bail bond. When the indemnitor signs the bail bond contract, he or she assumed several responsibilities, including making sure that the defendant meets all of their court obligations, paying additional fees associated with forfeiture, and paying the entire value of bail if the defendant misses their court date and cannot be found.
Q: How Long Does the Bail Process Take:
A: The length of time it takes a court to process a bail bond varies widely due to the nature of the crime, the defendant’s criminal history, the defendant’s citizenship status, the volume of arrests on that given day, the number of employees working at the jail on that given day, and many other factors. Though Armstrong Bail Bonds cannot guarantee release in a certain time, our experienced bail bondsmen will do everything in their power to bring your loved one home as quickly as possible.
Q: How Much Do Bail Bonds Cost?
A: Bail bonds are ALWAYS 10% of the total bail amount, though the cost may be reduced to 8% of the total bail amount for active military personnel, seniors over the age of 55, and union members. How much the the total bail amount is, however, is determined by the county’s bail schedule, the severity of the crime, and the defendant’s past criminal history.
Q: Do I Qualify For A Discount?
A: Armstrong Bail Bonds can legally offer a 20% discount (or 8% of the total bond amount) for active union members, active members of the U.S. military, or senior citizens 55 years or older.
If you have any other questions regarding legal terms, the cost of bail bonds, or the bail bond process, call Armstrong Bail Bonds today. We are here to help you make the best possible decisions and get your loved one out of jail fast!