When someone is facing charges, there are several different factors that come into play to decide whether the person can be free to the date of the trial or if they need to be held for fear they might run. Bail is a compromise between the two extremes, with the individual allowed freedom before trial but the bail is the monetary deposit that helps to guarantee that the accused will show up for court. If they do not, that money is forfeit and at that point, they are in violation as a bail jumper in addition to still being responsible for the original crime.
If the defendant can’t afford the full bail, the court will generally accept a bail bond in its place. This is a non-refundable 10% of the total bail paid to a licensed bail bondsman who then puts up that bond as a promise the defendant will show. If he or she does not, that bondsman is on the hook for the full amount. This is where bounty hunters come in, opening a whole different can of worms.
Some restrictions come along with bail. The defendant often must stay in the same town, residence, or county until the time of the trial, and there are often other extenuating circumstances or rules that must be followed to avoid violating the terms of freedom that are granted because of bail.
Most bond is paid via bail guarantors, which makes them especially motivated to track down anyone who skips or intentionally misses their court date. This is a system that gives the accused an option for having freedom until their fair day in court, but it has its rules and regulations that must be followed to avoid making any legal situations even worse on the accused.
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