FAQ About Bail Bonds
How Bail Bonds Work
If you are facing an arrest and you are in need of bail, you may have questions about the process. We have compiled FAQ about bail bonds in Denver for our clients. Feel free to give us a call if you can’t find the question and answer you are looking for.
What is bail?
Bail is basically a guarantee. It is an amount set by the court that a person must pay (whether through money or property) to be released from jail after arrest. This allows the defendant to await trial at home, but the money is kept by the court as a way of guaranteeing that the defendant shows up to their court date.
Do I have a right to be released on bail?
Yes. The right to bail is protected by the eighth amendment. There are only a few exceptions like murder and certain violent felonies.
How do they determine the bail amount?
The amount bail is set for is fixed by the judge at your first appearance before court. They will determine this amount based on the circumstances of arrest, the seriousness of the alleged crime committed, the history of the defendant and how much of a risk they believe the defendant poses to the community.
What is a personal recognizance bond?
This type of bond occurs only when authorized by the court. It permits a person’s release from custody on the defendant’s promise to appear as required by the court.
What is a property bond?
A property bond can only be obtained from the court. In this situation the court allows the defendant to deposit cash or other valuable properties to be held by a clerk as a guarantee that the defendant will show up for their court date. Some jurisdictions allow proper bonds that are guaranteed by the pledge of an unencumbered equity in real estate in Colorado. Equity is required to be worth no less than 1-1/2 times the bail amount. Some courts do not allow real estate to be used for a property bond. This varies between jurisdictions.
What is a bail bond agent?
A bail bond agent is someone who posts a defendant’s bond on their behalf and guarantees that the defendant will appear in court. Bail bond agents have to be licensed by the State of Colorado and have an appointment from an insurance company or be a qualified cash bonding agent.
Bail bond agents are paid a certain amount, called the premium, to post the bond. If the defendant does not appear in court, the court can order the bond forfeited. At this point the bonding agent is required the court the full amount of the bond. This allows gives the bail bonding agent the right to apprehend the defendant and return them to custody. They can at this point us the collateral taken for the bond to pay the bond forfeiture. That is why it is important to never skip out on your court date.
What are bond conditions?
Conditions are agreed to by the defendant when posting bail. The most important one is that the defendant agrees to appear at all court hearings. Failure to appear in court can result in a arrest. There are other conditions that may apply such as not being allowed to leave the state of Colorado while released on bail. The defendant cannot commit a crime while out on bail. And the defendant must agree to a restraining order that prohibits them from contacting witnesses or victims.
What is the cost of a bail bond?
The bail bondsman may charge up to 15% of the amount of the bond. If your bond amount is mandated at $1,000 the bond agent may charge you a premium of up to $150.
Do I have to appear at all court hearings?
Yes, the defendant must appear at all court hearings. This is the most important condition of your bail.
What should I do if I miss one of my court dates?
You should act promptly. If you posted bail through a bail bonds company, contact your agent right away. If you posted your bond on your own, then go to the court clerk as quickly as possible to arrange for a new court date.
Can the bail bond agent revoke my bond?
Yes, the bail bond agent has the right to revoke your bond.
Will I get my money back if the bond is revoked?
You might, but only the court has the authority to order the bonding agent to return the premium.
Can I leave Colorado while out on bail?
No, you cannot leave the state unless you received special permission from the court and bail bond agent.
Should I notify the court of a change in address?
Yes, it is almost always a standard condition that you must report any change of address to the court immediately.
What is collateral?
Collateral is something gathered by the bail bond agent as a way of protecting themselves from loss in case the defendant does not appear in court. This is usually in the form of a deposit of money or property. Collateral can come from friends and family who are considered co-signers or indemintors. Or the defendant can put up collateral on their own.
When collateral is taken the bail bondsman must provide a contract and a receipt. The agent then has the right to use that collateral to pay forfeitures and expenses related to apprehending and returning a defendant to custody if they fail to show up for their court date.
How do I get my collateral back?
You need to go to the court where your bond was posted and get a certificate of discharge, or a bond release. This then must be given to the bail bondsman who has ten working days, not including weekends and holidays to return your collateral.
Is it legal to charge me for storage of my collateral?
You can be charged for storage, but only if your collateral was stored in a public storage facility. You are to be informed of any storage fees at the time the contract is negotiated and your bail bond agent must provide you with a receipt for the collateral.
Do bail bondsmen accept credit cards?
Yes, many bonding agents do accept credit cards. You might be able to charge the premium for your bond and collateral to your credit card.
Can I make installment premium payments?
The bail bond agent may or may not negotiate an installment plan with you. If they do it must be in writing and must state the amounts to be paid and when those payments are due.
If the court dismisses my charges, will I get my money back?
You may or may not. If the charges are dismissed within 10 working days the court may or may not tell the bail bond agent to return part of your premium.
How do I get a receipt of my bail contract?
Contact your bail bonding agent to ask for a copy.
How long does the bail bond agent have to write my bond?
The agent has 24 hours of receipt of full payment or a signed contract to write your bond. If the bond is not posted then the premium must be refunded and the collateral.
If your question has not been answered by these FAQ about bail bonds in Denver, then please give our friendly staff a call right away for more information.