One of the main challenges with the bail system is that once a person is free, it can be very difficult to guarantee that they'll make all their court appearances as required. When people are facing the prospect of spending years in jail, they will be tempted to run away instead.
When a person skips bail, it's bad for everyone involved, but for the bail bonds service that provided the surety bond, they will have money on the line as well. They will be liable for the full bail amount if the defendant doesn't show up to court, and this can be ruinous to their business.
What is Collateral?
When a defendant skips bail and the bail bondsman is unable to return them to custody within a certain time period, they'll have to pay the court the full amount of the bail. To avoid having to pay this amount from their own pockets, the bail bondsman will require that the person cosigning the surety bond provides something as collateral.
This is usually property that the bail bondsman can sell to cover the full amount of the bail. Without some kind of collateral, an agency could be brought to its knees if just one suspect skips bail.
What Can Be Used as Collateral?
There are many things that can be used as collateral, but this will also depend on what the bail bondsman is willing to accept. Immovable property, such as homes and land, are commonly used as collateral. The defendant or cosigner will have to hand over the ownership deed first.
Other commonly used items are vehicles, boats, snowmobiles, motorcycles etc. In such cases, the actual items will have to be handed over to the bail bondsman for the duration of the trial.
If you have money in the bank, e.g. in a savings account, this can also be used as collateral. Stocks, bonds, certificates of deposit, and other investments can also be used as collateral.
Items that can be pawned, such as jewelry and electronics, can also be used as collateral. These items must be appraised first to ascertain their value.
How to Get Back Collateral
Unlike the 10% fee that you're required to pay the bail bondsman, the collateral is supposed to be returned to you at the conclusion of the trial. However, collateral is only returned once the court has returned the bail fee to the bail bondsman. This process can take anywhere from a few weeks to over a year depending on your situation.
For more information, contact a company like First Choice Bail Bonds.
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