7 Common Misconceptions about Bail Bonds

The bail bonds industry is surrounded by myths, misconceptions, untruths, and misunderstandings because few people know the whole truth. This contributes to the generally negative perception of the industry and false expectations when they go through the bail process. Matters are only made worse by the depictions of bail bondsmen in the movies and on TV, which are not always the most flattering. Here are seven common misconceptions about bail bonds – and the truth about the bail bonds industry.

Bail Bondsmen Work in Dangerous Locations/Have Dangerous Offices

There is a common misconception that bail bondsmen set up shop in dangerous parts of town or far from civilization. Another closely related myth is that they’re all in dirty, run-down buildings. In reality, bail offices can be found throughout most towns. The reason they may be tucked into a corner office or small building is that they don’t need a lot of space to operate.

Another myth is that it is dangerous to go inside the bond office because they’re staffed by ex-criminals, the mafia or bouncers. In reality, these offices are staffed by people who are there to help you when almost no one else can. Nor are you going to need to worry about dangerous criminals lurking around the bail office. Most of those offered bond were not accused of a dangerous or violent crime. You’re more likely to run into someone who was guilty of drunk driving than assault, while the violent murderers remain behind bars. Regardless of which bond office you visit, don’t be afraid to visit. They’re perfectly safe.

Bail Bondsmen Are Criminals/Shady

The bail bonds business has an undeserved reputation for being shady or outright criminal in some cases. Never mind the fact that they’re often tightly licensed, regulated, and supervised. The harsh truth is that this misconception ignores the vital role bail that bondsmen play in the criminal justice system. In some countries, if you’re accused of a crime, you remain in prison until your trial. Bail bondsmen offer a way for many offenders to get out of prison and get on with their lives while awaiting trial. Note that this could be months.

Another benefit of bail bondsmen is that they make freedom affordable. It allows people who couldn’t afford the entire bail amount to get out of prison while awaiting trial. Others choose to rely on a bail bonds business to make bail, so they can afford to pay for a top-notch attorney.

You Can’t Afford Bail/You’ll Lose Everything If You Try to Make Bail

One serious misconception that keeps people locked up unnecessarily is the belief that they cannot afford to make bail, or they will lose everything – including their house – if they try. In reality, bail bonds can be set up with affordable monthly payments so that you can afford to make bail, get out of jail, and return to your life while awaiting trial. Tell the bail bonds agency about your needs and your situation so that they don’t set the payments too high since you don’t want to go to jail for unpaid taxes or child support while trying to make the monthly payments to the bail bondsmen.

A related misconception is that bail bondsmen can control the cost of bail. They cannot talk the judge into reducing bail. Only your attorney can argue for a lesser amount, and the judge has the authority to decline.

Once You Make Bail, There Is Nothing Else You Need to Do

If you are on bail, you will still need to report to the court. There may be additional rules you need to follow. And you should follow the rules you are given because failure to obey the terms and conditions of release can lead to tougher consequences than those you already face. Break those rules and you could go back to jail, too. The bond company may set up additional conditions to make sure you meet the payment conditions.

A good bail bondsman will do far more than getting someone out of jail. They will help someone navigate the legal process and keep them up to date on court dates. If you need more information about how to find a quality bail bondsman in your area, you can learn more about the process here.

I’ll Get My Money Back After All This

This misconception is a mixture of truth and myth. The bail bondsman puts up the bail bonds on your behalf. After your court case is concluded, the bail bondsman will keep anywhere from ten to twenty percent of the amount as a charge in exchange for that service. The bond fee will depend on the price of the bond, the history of the accused, and the charges against the accused. You’ll get most but not all of the money back. You would get a refund if you paid the full bond amount yourself and appeared on your court date.

Bail Equals Bail Bond

The cost of bail is how much you have to pay to be released from prison. If someone cannot pay that full amount, then a bail bond issued by a bail bondsman is necessary. The bail is then met by the bail bondsmen. Another point of confusion is the fact that there are three types of bail bonds.

It Is Unregulated

The bail bonds business is highly regulated. In many areas, bail bondsmen have to be licensed to offer bail. In some states, they have to pass state exams and background checks, meet various financial requirements and take continuing education courses. Things are far more regulated than they were a generation ago, and it is a long way from the Wild West.

Conclusion

The process of posting bail is confusing, and it is certainly stressful to try to get a loved one out of jail. The misinformation and myths about the industry certainly make matters worse. We’ve tried to address some of the most common misconceptions about the bail bonds business here.

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