When a person is arrested for a crime, he or she is assigned a court date for a trial and the judge will set a bail amount necessary to release the defendant until the court hearing. Once the bail amount is set, the defendant can choose to pay the bail in cash, remain in jail until the court hearing, or hire a bail bond agency to provide bail.
Meeting bail often places a financial burden on the defendant or the family members assisting in the defendant’s release. However, remaining in jail until the trial has been found to hurt defendants’ cases as well as have negative effects on employment. Hiring a bail bond agency is usually the most appealing option when someone has been arrested.
Bail bond agencies in Georgia work similarly to bail bond agencies elsewhere. This is because all agencies operate under the same general regulations that enforce a maximum allowable fee they can charge for providing bail. The maximum allowable fee varies by state. A typical fee for a Georgia-based agency may fall between 12% and 15% of the defendant’s bail amount. The fee is nonrefundable as it pays for the services provided by the agency.
A bail bond is a fraction of the cost of a defendant’s bail and allows for the defendant’s release under strict conditions. The rules of the defendant’s release will be stated in a contract between the bondsman and the individual(s) paying the bond, also known as the indemnitor. The contract is then presented to the court. One of the contract’s conditions will be that the indemnitor is personally responsible for ensuring the defendant honors all obligations to appear in court.
Once the defendant fulfills all the conditions stated in the contract, the bail bond ends and the contract is terminated. If the defendant fails to appear in court, the bail is forfeited and the indemnitor will be held financially responsible for all costs associated with locating the defendant and returning him or her to police custody.