Bail Bond FAQ

What is a bail bond?

A bail bond is a financial guarantee that a criminal defendant released from custody will appear in court throughout the trial process. It is a legal contract between the state, the defendant, and the bail agent. A bail bond legally releases an individual from custody.

Bail is the financial security required to release a person from jail.
Bond is the legally binding responsibility assumed by the person that posts bail.

What are different types of bail bonds?

Secured Bond
Secured Appearance Bonds require that someone put up something of value — cash or property — to ensure the defendant will appear in court. The amount of bail set by the court may be more than the defendant has available. The defendant may need a bail bondsman to post bail for an additional fee.

Cash Bond
Cash bonds must be presented in U.S. dollars or by a licensed bail bondsman. Cash bonds are usually required when the court has reason to believe the defendant is at high risk of fleeing and has no property that the court can secure in that instance.

Property Bond
Property Bonds ensure a defendant’s court appearance with Real Property — a home, land, a building, etc. If the value of the property is not enough to cover the bail, a bail bondsman can post the remaining balance to have the defendant released from jail.

Written Promise to Appear
If the crime committed is considered minor and the defendant does not have a prior criminal history, the court may allow the defendant to sign a Written Promise to Appear in court. If a dollar value is assigned to the Written Promise, it may not be required to release the defendant from jail. If the defendant fails to appear in court then dollar value will be demanded. Bail Bondsmen are not required with this type of bail bond.

What are my options?

There are a few options to have a defendant released from custody:
Use a Bail Bondsman — All you’ll have to pay is a maximum of 15% of the total bond.
Post the Full Amount — Any person can post the full amount of the bond to the court.
Post Real Property — Any person can post real property with the court.

What is an Indemnitor?

An indemintor is a co-signer that helps the defendant financially secure their bail bond. This person is usually a spouse, family member, or a close personal friend. An indemintor assumes the costs and risks of having the defendant released and ensuring the defendant appears in court. An indemintor is not the same as a bail bondsman.

If you sign for an individual and the person cannot be located you are legally and financially liable for the bail bond. If the defendant has forfeited the bond by not appearing in court and cannot be found within 60 days, then you assume the full face value of the bail bond due on demand.

What does the bail bondsman do?

The bail bondsman is involved from the point of hire until the court case is complete. The bail agent will get a defendant released from jail and then will keep up with each court date involved in the case. The agent must make sure the defendant appears for each court date and is required to know the location of the defendant at all times. If the defendant does not appear in court, it is the responsibility of the bail bondsman to locate the defendant and either obtain a new court date or have the defendant returned to jail. Bail bondsman have the right to arrest a defendant at any time.

Legal Rights and Duties of Bail Bondsmen

United States Supreme Court (Taylor vs. Taintor, 16 Wall, 366)

When bail is given, the principal is regarded as delivered to the custody of his sureties. Their dominion is a continuance of the original imprisonment. Whenever they choose to do so, they may seize him and deliver him up in their discharge; and if that cannot be done at once, they may imprison him until it can be done. They may exercise their right in person or by agent. They may pursue him into another state; may arrest him on the Sabbath; and, if necessary, may break and enter his house for that purpose. The seizure is not made by virtue of new process. None is needed. It is likened to the rearrest by the sheriff of an escaping prisoner.

58-71-20. Surrender of defendant by surety; when premium need not be returned.

At any time before there has been a breach of the undertaking in any type of bail or fine and cash bond the surety may surrender the defendant to the sheriff of the county in which the defendant is bonded to appear or to the sheriff where the defendant was bonded; in such case the full premium shall be returned within 72 hours after the surrender. The defendant may be surrendered without the return of premium for the bond if the defendant does any of the following:

  1. Willfully fails to pay the premium to the surety or willfully fails to make a premium payment under the agreement specified in G.S. 58-71-167.
  2. Changes his or her address without notifying the surety before the address change.
  3. Physically hides from the surety.
  4. Leaves the State without the permission of the surety.
  5. Violates any order of the court.
  6. Fails to disclose information or provides false information regarding any failure to appear in court, any previous felony convictions within the past 10 years, or any charges pending in any State or federal court.
  7. Knowingly provides the surety with incorrect personal identification, or uses a false name or alias. (1963, c. 1225, s. 5; 1975, c. 619, s. 1; 1998-211, s. 30; 2001-269, s. 2.3; 2007-399, s. 1.)