If you watch a lot of cop shows or court dramas, you’ve probably heard the terms ‘bail’ and ‘bond’ a thousand times or more. But what do they mean? Is it simply two ways of saying the same thing? Or are they actually different words with different definitions? The answer is simple – here in Michigan the terms “bail” and “bond” mean exactly the same thing!
Bail (or bond) is the amount of money ordered by the court that a defendant has to pay in order to secure their release and their attendance in court. In other words, bail and bond refer to the specific amount of money that a judge or magistrate decides has to be posted in order for a person to be released from jail before their trial. If the person granted bail doesn’t appear in court for their scheduled hearings, they forfeit that amount of money.
So how does it work? Well, if a judge or magistrate decides that Danny Drug-Possession has to post $1,000 in order to secure his temporary release from custody, and Mr. Drug-Possession‘s family pays that money, he has been bailed (or bonded) out of jail. If however the court grants Sally Sex-Crime a bail amount of $10,000 and neither she nor her family can come up with that amount of money, they could turn to a bail bondsman for help.
Being bailed or bonded out of jail by a bail bonds company means that the defendant or their family wasn’t able to come up with the amount of money needed to post bail. They then hire a bail bondscompany who fronts the money on their behalf. In other words, the defendant in effect, purchases an insurance policy from the bail bond company. The premium is normally 10% of the amount of bail required. When the defendant pays the bond company their 10% fee, the bond company then posts the full bond, or an insurance policy for the full bond, at the court.
If the bond amount is high, in addition to a 10% charge paid to the bail bond company, this is usually done by providing the bail bond company with valuable collateral, like a home or a car. The bail bond company then pays the court the bail, and guarantees that the defendant will appear for their hearings. If the defendant doesn’t show up for their scheduled hearings, the bond company is required to pay the remainder of the bail amount.
Obviously, the bond company would rather avoid this, so they have a vested interest in making sure that the defendant shows up to court when they’re supposed to be there. This is where bounty hunters, or ‘skip tracers’ comes in – people who are hired by the bail bondsman to ‘trace’ and retrieve people who ‘skipped’ on their court hearings.
While bail and bond are the same thing here in Michigan, there are different types of bonds:
Personal Recognizance Bond:
A personal recognizance bond doesn’t require that a person put down any collateral in order to secure their release, it simply penalizes them at whatever rate the bond is set at if they don’t show up for their court dates.
For example, if Cathy Computer-Crimes is granted a personal recognizance bond of $10,000 and he skips town, missing his next court date, Mrs. Computer Crimes will owe the court a total of $10,000 for her failure to appear.
Cash or Surety Bond:
A cash or surety bond requires that the defendant either provide cash, or some type of surety (property) which is equal in value to the bail amount ordered by the court. The defendant can either provide the court with the surety themselves, or hire a bail bondsman to do it for them in return for a fee (usually 10% of the total.)
So if the court grants Harry Home-Invasion a bail of $10,000 but he doesn’t have that much in cash available, he might offer to pay $2,000 in cash and put up his 2010 pickup truck as surety. In the event that Mr. Home-Invasion skips town, the court has the right to seize his car.
There is also a variation of the cash bond where a defendant pays a percentage of the bond instead of the entire amount. In certain situations where the judge allows a person to only pay a portion, that amount is usually 10% of the total bail amount.
Either way, being arrested is a very scary process, and we understand that you want to be out of jail and back with your family as soon as possible. So if you or a loved one have been arrested, call The Kronzek Firm immediately at 866 766 5245. We can help with every aspect of your defense, including arguing on your behalf for a reasonable bail amount, and providing you with an aggressive defense against the charges.