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How Bail Works

When a bail bondsman, working with a bail bonding agency, puts up a fee for the release of a suspect on bail, the bondsman charges a fee of usually about 10% of the amount of money that is required to pay the bail. This initial fee is not refundable, even if the case is thrown out after the suspect posts bail.

The bail bondsman will take out a security against a defendantís assets in order to cover the cost of the bail. If the defendant does not have enough assets, then the bondsman might take out securities against individuals that are willing to assist, such as relatives and friends. When a security is taken out, a bondsman often requires that 10% cash payment in addition to collateral that would equal the full amount of the bail bond.

In the event that a defendant does not arrive in court on trial day, the bondsman cannot only hire a bounty hunter to track the defendant down, but the bondsman then has a right to sue the defendant for money that was given to the court for the defendantís bail bond. The bail bond agency may also recover any unpaid money by claiming assets that were owned by the defendant or those individuals that signed a contract to financially assist the defendant.


What is collateral and when is it required?

Arizona is a collateral state, the bail agent will require some form of collateral in order to write the bond. Collateral is something of value that the bail bond agency is given or assigned in order to cover the full bail amount in the event that the defendant does not go to court or follow through with the disposition of the court and the bail is forfeited (when the bail bond is ordered to be paid to the court). Collateral can be in the form of real estate, a vehicle, cash, jewelry or anything else of value. Often, the collateral must have the ability to be converted to cash within a reasonable period of time. In addition, the amount of collateral will generally be required to be 1.5 to 2 times the amount of the bail bond.