Bail Bond Basics

Following an arrest, individuals facing charges must stay behind bars unless they “make bail,” or pay the amount ordered by the court.

Rather than waiting in a cell for days or weeks until trial, a bail bond allows the accused to be released from custody until the next hearing.

Bail bonds guarantee that the person will appear on the next scheduled court date in exchange for being released from custody.

Most people rely on licensed bail agencies to deal with the jail or detention facility and expedite release.

The responsibilities of bail bond agencies include:

  • Locating the accused
  • Arranging full payment
  • Disclosing up-front costs
  • Ensuring court appearance
  • Explaining bond agreement
  • Finding fugitive with warrant
  • Preparing Nebbia requirements
  • Collecting non-refundable service fee (premium)
  • 12-15% of state bond amount in Georgia
  • approximately 15% of federal bond amount
  • 20% in some immigration cases
  • Safely holding collateral in trust
  • Used to recover cost if cannot find fugitive
  • Can be anything of value to ensure full payment
  • Returned in full once case completed
  • Can be property, car, bank account, or co-signor’s assets

Some cases require a “Nebbia proffer,” which is designed to show that the payment and collateral are derived from legitimate sources, not criminal activity. Bail bond agents analyze financial assets and show the origin of the funds through documentary evidence. A Nebbia hearing may be necessary if the prosecutor does not accept the proffer. Bail bondsmen are the only means of ensuring that the source of payment remains confidential. Because handling multiple courts, jails, and officials can get tricky, bond agencies must be well-versed in all aspects of the process.



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