What is bail?
Bail allows an accused person to be released from custody so they can prepare for trial. Bail is usually posted in the form of cash, property or a bail bond.
What is a bail bond?
A bail bond is a legal contract formed between the bail bond company and the defendant and their family to secure the pre-trial release of the defendant.
How does a bail bond work?
Under Vermont law, when the court orders “bail” to be posted in the form of a surety bond, reputable bail bond companies will charge a 10% fee to post the bond and secure the defendant’s pre-trial release. The bail bond company is responsible to the court for the full amount of the bail bond should the defendant fail to appear. The indemnitor, or person guaranteeing the bail, is legally responsible to the bail bond company for the full amount of the bail bond should the defendant fail to appear at all required court hearings. Once the defendant is released from custody, the fees paid to the bail bond company are not refunded at the end of the case.
How do I know which bail bond company to choose?
Factors to consider when choosing a bail bond company are:
- How long the company has been in business?
- Is the company’s home office located in Vermont or somewhere else?
- How many agents do they have?
- How long have they been doing business with the same insurance company?
What is an indemnitor, co-signer or guarantor?
This is the person that is legally responsible to the bail bond company for any expenses incurred by the bail bond company up to and including the full amount of the bond, when a defendant fails to appear in court. Expenses can include court costs, fugitive recovery expenses, lawyer fees, etc.
When is the bail bond released by the court?
The bond is released by the court at the completion of the defendant’s case. If the defendant is found or pleads guilty, the bond is released when the defendant reports to serve any sentence imposed by the court. If the defendant is not sentenced to any time in jail, the bond is released at sentencing. Occasionally, the requirement for bail will be eliminated during the court process, before the end of the case.
What happens if the defendant fails to appear in court?
The court will schedule a bail forfeiture hearing. The bail bondsman will begin to search for the defendant. In some cases, the bail bondsman will hire fugitive recovery agents to locate and arrest the defendant. If the defendant is not surrendered to the court before the bail forfeiture hearing, the bail will be forfeited.
What is considered when the court sets bail?
The purpose of bail is to secure the appearance of the defendant at all required court appearances, not to punish or penalize the defendant, and the amount should be set with that in mind. The court also takes into consideration the seriousness of the charge, the defendant’s previous criminal history, any history of failing to appear in court, the defendant’s ties to the community and whether public safety is an issue or if the public would be in any danger if the defendant was released.