The ability to contact a bail bondsman and pay a fee for your release from jail has been a practice for many years. It has been traced as far back as the 13th century. The bondsman would often accept something of value, such as property, rather than cash for the release of someone until their court date.
Debates Arise Over the Fairness of the Bail Bond System
Today, many states are reconsidering the bail bond system due to arguments by some that it is unfair. Some people believe the poor must often remain in jail until their court date because they cannot afford to pay the fee for a bondsman. For many, even a small offense could result in hundreds of dollars in fees to the bondsman for release.
A bondsman will typically charge a percentage of the bail that is set at the time of an arraignment. Some jails have a set amount for certain offenses that can be paid as soon as a person is arrested. The percentage is usually from 10% to 15% of the bail. If someone is charged with an offense that has a bail of $5,000, they would have to pay from $500 to $750 to the bondsman. For many, even this amount is out of reach. So they have no choice but to remain in jail until their court date.
An Alternative to Jail
Many bail bond companies are allowing people that do not have the whole amount needed to secure their release to make payments. This is an arrangement that permits the person to be released, so they do not lose their income. Instead of creating a hardship for the incarcerated person and their family, they can keep their job and pay the bail on a weekly or bi-weekly schedule. This is why services such as Andy Calif Bail Bonds offer an affordable bail bonds process.
The ability to remain free while awaiting a court date should not depend on how much money you have, particularly for minor offenses. Some states have started a system that allows those charged with a crime to make a deposit to the court to ensure their appearance. However, this may not be affordable for some people either.