Bail Bonding is the second oldest profession in the world, and may have originated because of the first. Our modern Criminal Law is based on old English Common Law. In earlier days of crimes against the King the accused had to either sit it out in jail until the case went to trial or someone had to guarantee to the King that the defendant would appear for trial. The guarantee was guaranteed by life or limb.
Today we guarantee a person's court appearance with money. A professional Bondsman is "your agent" and will explain to you the procedures and options and secure for you the release of an accused.
Old English Law would hold the guarantor responsible not only for the accused to appear in court, but would hold them responsible for the punishment, if the accused failed to appear. Over time, the guarantee has changed from life and liberty to property and money.
Modern Bail has evolved over the years to protect the accused as much as the victim. In America, our Constitution guarantees everyone a trial, and considers everyone "innocent until proven guilty in a court of law", even though a person may not have yet been found guilty by the courts; law enforcement and jail personnel do treat the accused as though they are guilty. Our Eighth Amendment guarantees everyone, "reasonable bail", while the person awaits trial. Reasonable is at the discretion of the court. A Judge or Magistrate normally sets the Bail amount for a particular crime, according to a county Bail Schedule and the particulars of a case. The Bail Schedule itself is usually set annually by a majority of superior, municipal, and other Judges. The bond amounts will vary per jurisdiction.
In setting or denying bail, the Judge or Magistrate's first concern is for the protection of the public, followed by the seriousness of the offense and previous criminal history or record of the accused. Furthermore, the Judge must be convinced that no part of the Bail was feloniously obtained. Other considerations in setting Bail, are the accused persons stability in the area, their employment history and their likelihood of flight.
When an individual is arrested for a crime, the person is typically taken to a local detention facility for booking, prior to incarceration in a lock-up facility. Once arrested and booked, the defendant has several options for release pending the conclusion of his or her case.
The Bail System is designed to guarantee the timely appearance of a defendant in court. Bail is also an insurance policy for the state, that the defendant will appear to face charges. Furthermore, the legal intent of release on Bail is not to relieve the defendant of obligations; it is the courts intention to maintain control over the defendant until justice can be administered.
In most states, the accused coordinates their own Bail, usually through a Bail Agent. Bail Agents are independent business people licensed through the state, registered with the counties, and authorized through the courts to write Bail in a particular jurisdiction to a certain amount.
Bail Agents are independent contractors with an entrepreneurial spirit. Most pledge their own assets as security on the bonds they write. The Bail Agent personally guarantees to the court that the accused will appear for all court appearances as scheduled or they will pay off the full amount of the bond. Bonding Agents have the right to re-arrest any defendant if the bond is thought to be in jeopardy.