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Hiring a Bail Bondsman in Florida

DUI Lawyer Dana Morris Panama City

Bail Bond in Panama City, Florida

Are you looking for the best way to bail your friend or family member out of jail and find yourself confused?  You are not alone. It is at this time that it is most important to hire the best criminal defense attorney in the Panama City area to guide you through the process and secure a good bail bondsman that you can work with for a bail bond.

One of the first things that is going to happen after the arrest is for a judge to determine if a person can be released from jail and under what terms.  The judge will usually take into account the nature of the alleged offense and the prior criminal history, if any, of the person who has been arrested.  After the judge determines the amount of the bail, you will need to decide if you are going to pay the full amount upfront (cash bond) or hire a bail bondsman and pay a surety bond.

If you decide to go with a surety bond, this can best be thought of as an insurance policy.   The bondsman will issue a bond for you, which is really just a promise to the court system that you (or the defendant) will appear for hearings. Once the bondsman issues the bond in the required amount you will be released from jail.  This means that the person will be released for less money up front and will remain free while their case makes its way through the legal system.  So what does the bail bondsman charge for this “insurance policy?”  In Florida, the bondsman may charge 10% of the total amount set for bail.  For example, if the bail is set at $5,000, you will pay a bail bondsman  $500 for the surety bond.  The $500 never comes back to you, that is the fee that a bondsman keeps.

Cash Bond vs. Surety Bond

When you decide to pay the entire amount upfront, you are posting a cash bond.  The full amount of the bond is paid in order for you to be released.  If you successfully comply with the terms of the bond, the full amount of the bond, minus court fees, will be returned to you.

If you are unable, or unwilling, to pay the entire amount upfront, you may decide to go with a surety bond.  A surety bond can best be thought of as purchasing an insurance policy.   The bondsman will issue a bond for you, which is really just a promise to the court system that you will successfully comply with the terms of the bond. Once the bondsman issues the bond in the required amount you will be released from jail.  This means that you will be released for less money up front and will remain free while your case makes its way through the legal system.  So what does the bail bondsman charge for this “insurance policy?”  In Florida, the bondsman may charge 10% of the total amount set for bail.  For example, if the bail is set at $5,000, you will pay a bail bondsman $500 for the surety bond.  The $500 never comes back to you, that is the fee that a bondsman keeps.

What happens if I don’t comply with the terms of the bond?

If you disappear and do not comply with the terms of the bond, several things will happen. The court will issue an arrest warrant for your appearance (also called a capias), and the bond will be considered in default. If the bond was set at $5,000 and you paid the entire $5,000 in a cash bond, the court will keep the entire amount and refund you nothing. If you hired a bail bondsman and were released on a surety bond, the bond company will have to pay the court the $5,000. The bonding company may now choose to sue you for their losses or you will lose the collateral that you secured the bond with. Finally, the bondsman may look for you to return you to jail.

Free Legal Advice from a Panama City Defense Attorney with over 17 Years Experience 

If you are in need of advice from a local criminal defense attorney in Northwest Florida with over 17 years experience, please give us a call now at (850) 257-5680.  We will be happy to arrange a free consultation in our office or over the phone to discuss your case and offer our assistance.