Bail Bonds Rules

Bail bonds are a non-refundable payment used to guarantee the entire amount of bail in case a defendant fails to live up to the terms of the release. A bail bond covers 10 percent of the total bail and is beneficial to a client, so that they don't have to spend all their time in a jail cell until the trial date. While bail bond laws vary state-by-state, most states have the same approach to this policy.


The law permits that an individual can cover a bail bond once they become 18 years of age and must be trustworthy and of good character. A bail bondsman is an agent appointed by an insurer to procure, negotiate and effectuate bail bonds for an insurer. Laws dictate that anyone interested in becoming a bail bondsman must pass an examination and have at least one year of experience as an employee of a bail agent.


A bail bond can be forfeited if a defendant does not appear in court. Once a defendant fails to appear in court, the bail bond will be forfeited and an arrest warrant is issued to the defendant. The court clerk is responsible for notifying the bail bondsman and the state's attorney about the forfeiture and the issuance of the warrant.

Arrest Authority

Because a bail bondsman has custody over a defendant, they have the authority to arrest a defendant anytime before the forfeiture goes into affect. The arrest authority law states that a bail bondsman must deliver a copy of the bond, and then a warrant is to be ordered issuing the defendant to a jail or detention center. The court may award a bail bondsman a financial reward for locating and surrendering the defendant.

Defenses to Forfeiture

The law protects a bail bondsman from losing his bond and a defendant from going to jail if they can show reasonable cause for why the defendant failed to appear at their court date. The court can either strike out the forfeiture in part or in whole, set aside any judgment, or order the defendant and the bail bondsman to pay the remainder of the bond or go to to jail.


Within 90 days of the defendant's ability to appear in court, the bail bondsman either has to pay the remaining 90 percent of the bond or produce the defendant. The remission law was created to enforce a bail bondsman to cover any expenses from the state that were exhausted in an attempt to pursue a defendant. A bail bondsman may apply for a refund, but the law permits the courts to go against a bail bondsman if they fail to cover those expenses.

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