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What does a Bail Agent do?
A bail agent is licensed to transact bail bonds and all aspects of bail required to have a defendant released from jail or court custody through the use of a “bail bond”. The agent is licensed by the California Department of Insurance.
Do I have to use a Bail Agent to get someone out of jail? What are the options?
The State of California allows for several ways to post bail:
- Pay the full bail amount in the form of cash, cashier’s check or money order. The jail will not accept personal checks or credit cards.
- Pay the full bail amount in the form of funds from the U.S. Treasury.
- Accommodations can be made through the court to use property as collateral. The law is very specific as to how this is negotiated. You should consult with your attorney or the court clerk for details.
- Post a bail bond through a licensed bail bond company, the cost is usually 10% of the total bail amount.
What happens after the defendant is released on bail?
- Arraignment: Is usually the first court appearance. It is a good idea for the defendant to bring an attorney if he or she has one. The defendant will be asked to enter a plea.
- Plea: The defendant will be given three options for a plea.
- Not Guilty
- No Contest (Nolo Contendre), a plea of “no contest” is the same as a “guilty” plea, but the defendant does not admit civil liability.
- Multiple Appearances: After the arraignment, the defendant will be given another appearance date. Please make sure that the defendant makes all appearances.
What happens if the person that I signed for does not appear in court?
By acting as the cosigner, you have agreed to be financially liable to our company for the full amount of the bail bond. If the court declares that the bail bond is forfeited due to non-appearance, you are obligated to pay the full amount of the bail.
What happens if the defendant is late for court or misses the court date?
THIS SHOULD BE AVOIDED. The court may look upon the defendant’s failure to appear as a willful act. If this happens, the court may issue a warrant and the defendant may be subject to arrest. Under some conditions, we may be able to contact the court and “reassume” the liability of the bond. If you know that the defendant is going to be late or delayed for court, call the court immediately. If you can’t find the number, call us at (888) 309-1397, and we may be able to help.
Should the defendant or cosigner notify anyone of a move or job change?
Yes. We must be able to contact all parties related to bail contracts at all times.
Can the defendant leave the area?
One of the benefits of posting a bail bond is that the defendant is free to conduct his or her life as usual. Unless instructed by the court, the defendant is free to leave the area as long as he or she appears before the court as directed.
How long is the bond good for?
The bail bond is good as long as the case lasts. However, the terms of the contract state that the bail bond premium is paid annually.
Am I criminally liable if someone I signed for does not appear for court?
No. Your liability under our contract is strictly financial.
When collateral is required to guarantee a bond, how and when do I get it back?
Most bail bonds provided by Cherry Bail Bonds do not require real property as collateral, only a cosigner’s signature. If real property is taken, a “certified copy of the exoneration” is required to notify us that you are no longer responsible for the bond. Once we receive the exoneration, we can return the collateral to you.
Do I need an attorney?
In any criminal matter, the defendant should consult with a defense attorney regarding his or her rights. Many attorneys offer a free consultation. Your bail agent in not allowed to give legal advice.
What about the public defender?
At the first court appearance (arraignment), the defendant will be asked if he or she can afford an attorney. If the person says “no,” a public defender will be appointed before the hearing.