This process is a contractual undertaking, which involves a bail bonds person, an indemnitor, and the court. The courts tend to favor this form of release, because it guarantees that if the defendant fails to appear in court, someone (the bail agent) will make an immediate effort to find the defendant, apprehend him or her, and bring him or her back to the court of proper jurisdiction. By involving family and friends of the defendant, a bail bond sperson and the courts are reasonably assured of the defendant's appearance. This form of bond generally requires that the defendant and his friends or family pay only ten percent of the entire bond amount.
Cash bail means that the person who is trying to obtain the release of the defendant must deliver the full amount of bail in cash to the jail facility where the defendant is being detained. Upon completion of the case, the depositor will receive the bail back, but in the form of a check usually 48 hours after claiming it. If the case takes years, for example, and the depositor fails to timely claim the cash, the entire amount is forfeited to the State.
Property bonds involve the placing of local real estate (homes only, no raw land or out-of-state homes) with the courts as security for the release of a defendant. This process typically takes 1 to 2 weeks, because it requires a judge's approval, a property appraisal, a comparable sales comparison, and the clerk's acceptance. However, most states do not accept property bonds. Based on current economic conditions (2010), property bonds are exceedingly rare. During the entire pendency of the case, the property named in the bond cannot be sold.
Release on Recognizance
Release on One's Own Recognizance is another method of release. It is given to defendants who have been in the community for many years, have solid jobs, strong family and community ties, and present little or no risk of flight. This release program is usually administered by a county agency or through a local law enforcement agency. A criminal history background check is performed, and a recommendation is given to the court based on those findings. This form of release is common only for first-time offenders and non-violent offenses. Since there is no financial or other security placed with the court to ensure the defendant's return to court, there is little incentive for them to appear.
Pre-trial services is a form of release which generally involves less money, but numerous special conditions in exchange for release. Often devices such as ankle bracelets, electronic monitors or GPS are used. These devices set off an alarm if a person strays too far from its base located within the defendant's home. Unlike surety bond, a person released on pre-trial services may not travel, and if the conditions are violated they must often wait in jail without the opportunity to post a surety bond.
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