When an individual is arrested, a judge may decide to set bail depending on the severity of the crime. This acts as an assurance that the defendant will appear for future court dates. When bail is set, this dollar amount is required to be paid to the court in order for the defendant to be released from custody. Until then, the individual must sit in jail to await trial.
If a defendant or any individual on their behalf cannot pay the full amount of the bail to the court upfront, that is when bail bonds can come into play.
What are Bail Bonds & How Do They Work?
A bail bond is money paid to the court by a bondsman on the defendant’s behalf in order for them to be released from custody. This payment acts as a promise from the defendant that he or she will appear for all mandated court appearances for the duration of the case.
Check out the Big Fish Bail Bonds FAQs
What’s the Difference Between Bond & Bail?
Bond and bail are often confused with one another. While similar, there is one main difference between the two, and that difference comes down to who pays the bail as set out by the court. So, if the defendant, a family member, or a friend pays bail directly to the court, that means they have been bailed out. Bond, on the other hand, is bail paid by a bond agent or a company on the defendant’s behalf.
Who Are Bail Agents (Bail Bondsmen)?
Bail agents (as they’re called in Kansas) are persons who aid defendants financially in order to be released from custody.
How Much Does a Bail Agent in Kansas Make?
While dependent on the individual’s education, certifications, and experience, bail agents typically make an average annual salary of $33,000 – $42,000.
Are Bail Agents Required to Have a License?
In the state of Kansas, bail agents are required to be licensed by the state.
How Much Does A 10% Bail Bond Cost?
A 10% bond cost simply means the fee to be paid to the bond agent is 10% of the total bail. For example, if bail is set at $100,000, the fee that the agent is to collect is $10,000 (100,000 x .10).
Kansas law does not allow an agent to charge more than 10% for their services.
Qualifying for a High Dollar Bail Bond Through a Bondsman
When bail is set at a high dollar amount – say $500,000 – it does not necessarily mean you will be automatically qualified for a bond.
You may be required to show proof of your ability to pay back the bail in the event the defendant fails to show up to court. These forms of proof could include:
- A recommendation by a highly reliable source
- Collateral that is equal to the amount of the bond such as a vehicle or home.
- Bank statements or tax returns showing proof of income
- Ability to pay the entire fee upfront
- A cosigner
- No prior record of missed court dates
Do I Get Bail Money Back if Guilty?
The money (bail) that is paid to the court is refundable whether or not the defendant is found guilty but under certain conditions. The defendant must appear at all scheduled court dates and abide by any other conditions the court may have set out. If these conditions are followed, the money will be returned. If not, the entire amount will be forfeited to the court.
If a bond agent is hired and all conditions of the court are abided by, all money, minus the 10% fee, will be returned to the borrower.
Do You Have to Pay Back a Bail Bondsman?
Unless the defendant misses court, nothing else will need to be paid to the bond agent besides the initial 10% fee. After the case is finalized, any collateral used to hire a bonds agent is returned to the owner. However, if the defendant runs and misses court, the individual who signed with the bond agent will be responsible for paying back the bond in full.
What Happens if You Don’t Pay the Bail Bondsman?
Hiring a bond agent acts like any other type of loan. Once you sign the agreement, you are required to pay the fee no matter what happens with the case.
If you don’t pay, a lawsuit may be filed against you or a bounty hunter may be hired to find you, family members, or friends in order to obtain payment from you.
What is the Most Common Type of Bail?
There are three main types of bail in addition to hiring a bond agency:
- Own Recognizance
This type of bail requires no payment, but rather a written agreement from the defendant stating he or she promises to appear for all required court dates. This is usually used in minor misdemeanor cases.
- Cash Bond
This type of bail simply means paying the total amount of the bail in cash to the court.
- Property Bond
This type of bail posts the amount at the value of a piece of tangible property, such as your house.
Can You Go to Jail for Failure to Appear in Court?
Yes, this is a possibility. When a defendant is ordered to appear for court dates, he/she is expected to do so. If not, they have violated the court order and may face criminal charges.
A judge has the right to issue a warrant for the defendant’s arrest and can be taken back into custody and may even impose fines or jail sentences if found guilty of failure to appear. Bail amounts could also be increased.
What Happens if You Violate Bail Conditions?
Once again, if you violate the conditions of your bail, you forfeit any money paid. If a bond agent was hired to post bail, you must also secure a loan with collateral.
Measures Bondsman Can Take to Get Their Money Back
Some bond agencies are more willing to work with you when you can’t pay the full bond, by allowing partial payments or payment plans or even using collateral. However, if you default on paying, there are several different avenues bondsmen can take to get their money back:
- Contacting family and friends by phone
- Showing up at you or your family and friends homes
- Contacting your family and friends on social media
- Confronting you in person, whether that be at home, at work, or at someone else’s home
- File a lawsuit against you
What Happens if You Sign a Bond On Behalf of Someone and They Run?
When you sign the bail bond document, you are acknowledging that you are responsible for the defendant. If they fail to appear in court, you will lose any money you put down on their behalf and no refund will be given.
If you paid money directly to the court and the defendant has fled, you will be responsible for tracking them down before the court date if you wish to be refunded your money. However, if you hired a bond agent, they will hire a bounty hunter to track down the individual.
What Happens if You Don’t Show Up for Court on A Bail Bond?
If you used a bond agency to pay your bail and you fail to show up for court:
- A warrant will be issued for your arrest
- A bounty hunter will be hired to track you down
- You will go back to jail without the chance for another bail bond
Do Bounty Hunters Need to Show A Warrant?
Depending on certain state regulations, bounty hunters may not need the warrant to enter a home, nor would they need one to make an arrest. Bounty hunters also have the ability to cross state lines and temporarily imprison the individual who has fled and they have the right to carry and use a gun in matters of self-defense.
Can Bounty Hunters Make Arrests?
Bounty hunters have the right to make arrests and use necessary force to do so.
Can Bounty Hunters Enter My Home?
Yes, bounty hunters are allowed to enter a residence if they have probable cause to believe the fleeing defendant is located inside.
What Are Bounty Hunters Legally Allowed to Do?
As we previously mentioned, bounty hunters may be legally allowed to cross state lines, make arrests, and enter any home without a warrant.
According to Kansas state law, bounty hunters are required to inform local law enforcement before they apprehend a fugitive. They must provide their local department with:
- A certified copy of the bond
- A copy of the fugitive’s driver’s license or state ID
- Documentation that they are working on behalf of a bondsman
- Documentation that the fugitive is the principal of the bond
Local law enforcement may even accompany the bounty hunter to apprehend the fugitive.
What is the Difference Between a Bail Bondsman and a Bounty Hunter?
To put it simply, a bail bondsman is the person who pays the bail to the court on behalf of the defendant, while a bounty hunter is the person that is hired by the bondsman to track down and bring a fugitive into custody.
How Long Does It Take to Become a Bounty Hunter in Kansas?
In Kansas, bounty hunters must obtain a license from the Kansas Attorney General. It will take around 30 days to become officially licensed.
How Much Do Bounty Hunters Make?
Bounty hunters are not paid an hourly wage. Most of the bounty hunters in Kansas are paid by bail bondsmen through fees collected from each defendant they bring to justice. Bounty hunters in Kansas make on average around $55,000 annually.
What Will Bounty Hunters Do if the Defendant Runs?
Bounty hunters have been known to have a high success rate in tracking down fugitives. They will contact several family members and friends and may even go into their workplace to try to find them.
If you used a bond agency to bail out another individual and they cannot be found, the agency will turn to you for the money.
Can Bounty Hunters Break and Enter?
Depending on state laws, bounty hunters may be able to break and enter private property without a warrant in order to take the fugitive back into custody.
Need to Hire a Bond Agent?
Call Big Fish Bail Bonds, a trusted company located in Wichita, Kansas. Open 24/7, we’re here to answer your questions whenever you need us.