Your Right to Bond Out
Bail bonds represent a cornerstone of the American legal system’s principle that defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty. Although courts want to assure the accused will appear for trial, courts have no punitive or correctional reason to hold the accused in custody unless a charge is proven. Bail bond is a financial assurance that a defendant will show up for trial and for all related court proceedings.
Your Right to Fair Bail
The Eighth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution requires that bail be set at a reasonable amount. According to the Bill of Rights, “Excessive bail shall not be required.” Whether a bail amount is excessive may be a matter of some debate, but courts generally want to be certain the risk of not returning to court is greater than any advantage the accused might perceive in fleeing the court’s jurisdiction.
Because courts set bail amounts sufficiently high to pose a financial burden if the accused were required to forfeit their surety, bail bond agencies act as a backer or guarantor of the full amount in exchange for a smaller portion of the amount. The Tulsa bail bond fee covers the bondsman’s costs of doing business, including insurance to pay the court for any forfeitures, an Oklahoma bail bondsman license, costs of investigating or recovering defendants in the rare event someone skips or does not appear for hearings, and basic business costs such as telephones, rent and personnel.
Forfeiture of Bonds
In almost all cases, those released on bail appear for court proceedings and do not forfeit their bail. In the rare event a person does forfeit their bail, the bond agency must pay the court. The person who bonded out then becomes liable to the bond agency for the full bond amount. Tulsa bail bond agencies typically employ or contract with recovery agents, or bounty hunters, to find clients who fail to keep their promise. The recovery agent tries to return a person to custody after they skip out on a bond so the court will not require the accused and the bond company to pay the full surety amount.
More often in Oklahoma, the reasons a few people forfeit a bond or have bond revoked by an Oklahoma court are because they do not to comply with conditions of release. In addition to surety promises, Oklahoma courts typically set conditions such as no alcohol consumption, no possession of firearms, no use of illegal drugs, no contact with victims or witnesses in a case and that the person incur no further criminal charges while a case is pending.
Conditions of release can include monitoring through ankle bracelets and prohibitions from leaving the state. Bond agencies might set additional terms, including notification of change of address or compliance with financial agreements. When bond is revoked for reasons other than failure to appear, the accused may return to custody and is not required to forfeit the full amount.
A court might also revoke bond if a person shows up late for a court appearance. Oklahoma courts do not always wait to see if a person is just tardy – some issue bench warrants immediately after a case is called on the docket. It is imperative that you contact the court if for whatever reason you are not going to be in court when a case is called. Your attorney is usually the best person to work with the court to adjust hearing schedules.
Guarantors and Collateral
Most bond instruments involve amounts that can be secured by a person’s individual financial assurances. For higher bond amounts, the bond agency usually requires some form of collateral. Some people who do not have assets to offer as collateral may find a family member or friend to offer collateral. The friend or family member trust the person not to flee and leave them indebted for the collateral.
When a friend or family member lends their confidence to the bond arrangement, they are saying they believe the person will appear in court as promised. A person who cosigns a bond or offers collateral is called a guarantor. If you are a guarantor on someones bond and believe they might flee, it is urgent that you contact the bond agent immediately to reduce your financial risk.
Bond Reduction Hearings
The Eighth Amendment provides constitutional assurances against excessive bonds but courts can still set bond at prohibitively high amounts – sometimes even a million dollars or more. When a bond amount essentially assures a person will not be released from custody, the person through their attorney might seek a bond reduction hearing. At a bond reduction hearing, an attorney might inform the court that the person has lasting ties to the community, has no criminal record, has a job they need to maintain or other reasons that could persuade the court to reduce the bond amount.
In some cases, courts can release a person on their own recognizance. That means the court has not required a person to post a surety bond, and believes the person’s promise that they will appear for scheduled court hearings. Own recognizance release might include any or all of the same conditions of release required in a surety bond.
Another alternative to surety bonds is a cash bond. A person with sufficient assets can post the entire amount of a bond with the court. A person who posts a cash bond can avoid the cost of a common bail bond, or surety bond, but must be able to live without their cash assets until the court case is completed.
Get Oklahoma Bail Bond Answers
If you have questions or concerns about bail bonds in Oklahoma, including questions about collateral, co-signing for bail bonds, how to get a bail bond in Oklahoma, the cost of Tulsa, Oklahoma bail bond or any related question, contact Badass Bail Bonds Tulsa at (918) 932-2888 or send your question using the Tulsa bail bondsman’s online email form.