What is a Bail Bond?
The Constitution of the United States and the State of Maryland stipulate that people charged with crimes must have a reasonable access to bail, with a few important restrictions. Although bail must be reasonable, the extent of the crime, history of the accused, prior warrants, and whether the accused is a “flight risk” factor greatly when a judge determines bail. A “flight risk” is a term the court uses to determine if a person released on bail will decide to “jump bail” and miss their court appearance, or whether the accused will flee to another country or district where they can no longer be prosecuted for their crime. However, if bail is granted, the accused can enter into an agreement with a bail bondsman to secure their release.
A bail bond is a contract between a person accused of a crime and a businessman called a bail bondsman. Bail bondsmen pay the entire amount of a person’s bail in return for a small fee, typically 10% of the bail itself. The bondsman keeps this fee once the person is released from jail. Once the person is released from jail they agree to show up at their next court appearance, but if they do not the bail bondsman forfeits the amount of money they put up to secure their release. When the person “skips” bail, the bondsman can use bail enforcement agents, commonly called “bounty hunters,” to track down the accused and force them to appear at trial.