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Friday, 11 February 2011 10:35

Frequently asked questions about posting bail bonds.

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February 11, 2011

Affordable Bails New York inc. and its Queens, Brooklyn, and Manhattan offices bring you a guide to our

 most frequently asked questions as bail bond agents.


What Is Bail?

The term Bail is used in several distinct senses: (1) It may mean the security­ cash or bond­ given for the appearance of the prisoner. (2) It may mean the bondsman (i.e., the person who acts as surety for the defendant`s appearance, and into whose custody the defendant is released). (3) As a verb, it may refer to the release of the defendant (he was bailed out). The first meaning is the most common and should be employed for clarity. Admission to bail is the order of a competent court that the defendant be discharged from actual custody upon bail. The discharge on bail is accomplished by the taking of bail (i.e., the acceptance by the court or magistrate of security either an undertaking or deposit ­for the appearance of the defendant before a court for some part of the criminal proceeding). Bail is evidenced by a bond or recognizance, which ordinarily becomes a record of the court. The bond is in the nature of a contract between the state on one side and the defendant and his sureties on the other. The agreement basically is that the state will release the defendant from custody the sureties will undertake that the defendant will appear at a specified time and place to answer the charge made against him. If the defendant fails to appear, the sureties become the absolute debtor of the state for the amount of the bond. In the Queens, Brooklyn and Manhattan courts most judges in two forms. The first number which is usually higher is the insurance company bond the second is the cash alternative.


How Much Does A Bail Bond Cost?

Federal Courts

15% of the bond amount

Immigration Bond

20% of the bond amount

State Courts

Anywhere between 6.25% and 10% of the bond amount, depending on the state in which you live. Queens, Brooklyn and Manhattan courts in New York state these are the rates.

Sample cost breakdown for a $10,000 bond:





State Courts




When Talking About Bail, What Do You Mean By The Term Undertaking?

An undertaking is a permissible type of bail security. The taking of bail consists of a competent court in Queens, Brooklyn and Manhattan accepting an undertaking of sufficient security for the appearance of the defendant, according to the terms, or the surety will pay a specified sum to the state. Corporate sureties are commonly used, and the Suffolk County courts in Central Islip New York will accept an admitted surety insurer`s bail bond if executed by the insurer`s licensed bail agent and issued in the insurer`s name by an authorized person.



Must You Always Use A Bail Bondsman?

The defendant, or any other person, may deposit the sum mentioned in the bail order or bail schedule. Cash is accepted, and it is the practice for the Suffolk County courts in Central Islip New York is to adopt a written policy permitting acceptance of checks or money orders, upon conditions that tend to assure their validity, in payment of bail deposits. Some courts have a maximum amount over which a personal check will not be accepted. Depending upon the jurisdiction, government bonds may be accepted.



What If Someone Believes That The Money To Be Used To Bail Someone Out Is The Product Of Criminal Activity?

The judge or a magistrate may stay the release of a defendant if a peace officer or prosecutor files a sworn declaration demonstrating probable cause to believe the source of the consideration, etc. was feloniously obtained, or the judge or magistrate has probable cause to believe the source was feloniously obtained. If probably cause exists, the defendant then bears the burden by a preponderance of evidence to prove that no part of the source was so obtained. A defendant who prevails must be released on issuance of a bail bond as specified in the Queens, Brooklyn and Manhattan courts in New York State.


What Is The Purpose Of Bail?

The purpose of bail is to assure the attendance of the defendant, when his or her presence is required in the Queens, Brooklyn and Manhattan courts in New York State , whether before or after conviction. Bail is not a means of punishing a defendant, nor there a suggestion of revenue to the government.


Is Bail A Matter Of Right?

Although the right to bail has constitutional recognition in the prohibition against excessive bail, bail is not always a matter of right. However, with certain exceptions a defendant charged with a criminal offense shall be released on bail. Persons charged with capital crimes when the facts are evident or the presumption great, are excepted from the right to release on bail. However, a defendant charged with a capital crime is entitled to a bail hearing in the trial court to determine whether the facts are evident or the presumption great. A crime is a capital offense if the statute makes it potentially punishable by death, even if the prosecutor has agreed not to seek the death penalty. It is presumed that the risk of flight of the defendant is great when he or she is facing death or life in prison without the possibility of parole.


Is The Public Safety Considered In The Decision To Admit A Defendant To Bail, Or To Deny Bail?

Bail can be denied in certain non­capital cases based upon a finding of substantial likelihood of harm to others. When the facts are evident or the presumption great, bail may be denied in the following instances; in felony cases involving acts of violence, or felony sexual assault offenses on another person, if the court finds on clear and convincing evidence that there is a substantial likelihood that the release of the accused would result in great bodily harm to others. In a felony case, if the Queens, Brooklyn and Manhattan courts in New York State finds on clear and convincing evidence that the accused has threatened another with great bodily harm, and that there is a substantial likelihood that the accused would carry out the threat if released. The requirement of findings based on clear and convincing evidence implies that a hearing will be held on the issue. There the existence of a substantial likelihood of harm must be determined on the basis of the specific circumstances of the case. The decision to grant or deny bail is subject to review on petition by the defendant.


What Is Considered By The Court In Fixing The Amount Of The Bail?

The amount of the bail is primarily within the discretion of the judge or magistrate in the Queens, Brooklyn and Manhattan courts in New York State , with only two general limitations: First: The purpose of bail is not to punish, but only to secure the appearance of the defendant, and it should be fixed with that in mind. Second: Excessive bail, not warranted by the circumstances is not only improper but a violation of constitutional rights. In fixing the amount of the bail, the court takes into consideration the seriousness of the charge, the defendant`s previous criminal record, and the probability of the defendant appearing at the trial or hearing. Additionally, if public safety is an issue, the court may make an inquiry where it may consider allegations of injury to the victim, threats to the victim or a witness, the use of a deadly weapon, and the defendant`s use or possession of controlled substances. A judge or magistrate in the Queens, Brooklyn and Manhattan courts in New York State setting bail in other than a scheduled or usual amount must state on the record the reasons and address the issue of threats made against a victim or a witness. The court must also consider evidence offered by the detained person regarding ties to the community and ability to post bond.


Does The Bail Bond Continue Forever, Can You Get It Back?

When the bail has served its purpose, the surety will be exonerated (i.e., released from the obligation). Exoneration normally occurs when the proceeding is terminated in some way or on the return of the defendant to custody. After conviction, the defendant appears for sentence. If sentenced to imprisonment the defendant is committed to the custody of the sheriff, and the liability of the surety terminates.


What If The Defendant Absconds?

The surety or depositor may arrest the defendant, or authorize and agent to do so for the purpose of surrendering him into custody to ensure his future appearance. This extraordinary power of the bail bondsman is of ancient origin. When bail is given, the principal is regarded as delivered to the custody of his sureties. Their dominion is a continuance of the original imprisonment. Whenever they choose to do so, they may seize him and deliver him up in their discharge, and if that cannot be done at once, they may imprison him until it can be done. They may exercise their rights in person or by agent. They may pursue him into another state; may arrest him on the Sabbath; and if necessary, may break and enter his house for that purpose. The seizure is not made by virtue of new process. None is needed; it is likened to the re­arrest by the sheriff of an escaping prisoner. The following may be authorized to arrest a bail fugitive: A certified law enforcement officer. A person licensed by the State to do so (i.e., holding a bail license in another state and authorized in writing by the bail or depositor to make the arrest). A person contracted and authorized in writing by the bail or depositor to do so, Bail Fugitive Recovery Person. A private investigator or persons doing the foregoing have been called bounty hunters, yet the term does not fit the facts of today`s world, they are acting under contract


IN What Instances Will The Bail Be Forfeited?

A judge in the Queens, Brooklyn and Manhattan courts in New York state must in open court declare forfeited the undertaking of bail, or the money or property deposited as bail, if, without sufficient excuse, a defendant fails to appear for any of the following: (a) arraignment, (b) trial, (c) judgment, (d) any occasion prior to the pronouncement of judgment if the defendant`s presence in court is lawfully required, or if the defendant fails to surrender in execution of the judgment after appeal.


If The Defendant Does Not Appear And The Court Orders Forfeiture, Can It Be Set Aside If He Later Appears?

A Queens, Brooklyn and Manhattan courts in New York state will sometimes order bail forfeited on the defendant`s nonappearance, then vacate the forfeiture to reinstate the bail when the defendant appears and offers an explanation for the absence. Some instances of this would be the nonappearance because of death, illness, or insanity, or detention by civil or military authorities, and if the absence was not with the connivance of the bail (acquiescence of the bonding company to the absence). An example of illness would be where the defendant is confined to bed by reason of a doctor`s order. If a defendant flees and the prosecuting agency does not seek extradition the bail may be exonerated.


When Can A Court Order A Recommitment?

Despite prior admission to bail the trial court in  Queens, Brooklyn and Manhattan courts in New York state may recommit the defendant to custody in several situations; when the defendant has failed to appear and bail has been forfeited, when the court determines that the surety is dead, insufficient, or has left the state, failure to give bail in an increased amount when ordered, or when the trial has commenced and the judge orders the defendant committed to custody. The right to bail may be terminated at the time of trial in the discretion of the trial judge. The order for recommitment must recite the facts and direct the defendant`s arrest and commitment to custody. If the ground cited is for an offense other than failure to appear for judgment upon conviction and the offense is bail able, the court may fix bail and admit the defendant to bail in the sum fixed.


If The Defendant Has Absconded, What Must The Bail Fugitive Recovery Person Be Able To Show? Is That Person A Bounty Hunter?

That he possesses the authority to arrest by virtue of satisfying any licensure requirements a state may impose upon such a person. Additionally, he or she must have in their possession proper documentation of authority to apprehend issued by the bail or depositor, which shall include the name of the individual authorized to apprehend the bail fugitive, the address of the principal office, the name and business address of the bail agency, or other party contracting with the individual authorized to apprehend a bail fugitive. In a historical sense they are a bounty hunter as they generally are contracted to do this and are remunerated for their services by the bail agency or other contracting party. The bounty hunters of old are not the bail fugitive recovery persons of today. Some jurisdictions require significant training and licensure of persons engaged in the recovery of bail absconders.


What If The Underlying Criminal Charge For Which Bail Was Granted Is Dismissed?

Statutes provide for exoneration of the surety in the event of dismissal. However, there is usually a time period within which the prosecuting agency may seek to re-­arrest and charge with a public offense arising out of the same act or omission upon which the action or proceeding was based.


What About Release On One's Own Recognizance?

A defendant may be released from custody under his own recognizance if he files with the Queens, Brooklyn and Manhattan courts in New York State or other authorized person a signed release agreement. The agreement must generally include the following: a promise by the defendant to appear at all times and places, as ordered by the court, magistrate, or other person authorized to release the defendant, and as ordered by any court in which, or any magistrate before whom, the charge is subsequently pending; a promise by the defendant not to leave the state without leave of the court; an agreement by the defendant to waive extradition if he fails to appear as is required and is apprehended outside of the state; and an acknowledgement of the defendant that he has been informed of the consequences and penalties applicable to violation of the conditions of release. A trial court`s discretion to impose additional conditions is limited to conditions which are reasonably related to and attempt to insure subsequent court appearances.


When Can Bail Be Increased?

After a defendant has been released, the Queens, Brooklyn and Manhattan courts in New York State in which the charge is pending may require him to give additional bail in an amount specified or to meet an additional condition upon a finding made in open court that the defendant has failed to appear; or that additional facts have been presented that were not shown at the time of the original release order, and the court may order him to commitment unless he or she gives such bail or meets such other conditions.



What Else May Happen When A Defendant Fails To Appear?

The Queens, Brooklyn and Manhattan courts in New York State may issue a bench warrant for his apprehension and arrest for the failure to appear upon the underlying charge, which would thus be a separate triable offense, separate and distinct from the original charge. The appropriate agency will enter each bench warrant issued on a private surety ­bonded felony case into the national warrant system, the National Crime Information Center (NCIC).


What Is An Immigration Bond?

An immigration bond issued for delivery of an alien guarantees that the individual will appear for all I.N.S. hearings on time and depart the United States at a specified date. An immigration bond conditioned for maintenance of an alien, guarantees that the person will be financially independent during the time he/she is in the United States.



What Is A Bail Bond Indemnitor?

A bail bond indemnitor is the co­signer for the bail bond. The indemnitor is responsible for seeing that all premiums are paid for a defendant`s bail bond. Bail bonds are normally good for one year. If the case continues for longer than a year, additional premiums will be due and collected for each year the case goes on. Bail bond premiums are not refundable, as they are used for the bail agent`s expenses, etc. The indemnitor is also responsible for additional expenses incurred by the bail agent in the transaction of a bail bond, such as long distance calls, travel, etc. An indemnitor is no longer liable for the defendent`s bond when the defendant has completes all of his/her court appearances, and when all premiums have been paid. It is best to contact the bail agent when the bond is exonerated by the court, for the expedient return of any collateral pledged and to confirm that the bond is exonerated. In the event of forfeiture, the indemnitor is liable until the full amount of the bail has been paid, plus any expenses incurred, or until the court exonerates the bond. The bond then becomes void.


How Does The Bail Process Work?

When an individual is arrested for a crime in most states, that person will be taken to a law enforcement center for booking prior to incarceration. Once arrested and booked, the defendant has several options for release pending the conclusion of the criminal case. The bail system is designed to guarantee the appearance of a criminal defendant in court as directed.





Last modified on Tuesday, 15 March 2011 18:14
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