If you are confused about the word, “acrostic”, just think of it as an acronym, but in the form of phrases rather than singular words. To better understand what you need to know about the bail bonds industry, use this fun and educational acrostic below!
B – Bail
Bail is the fee set by the presiding judge, and the money that must be pledged to the court on behalf of a defendant in exchange for a pre-release from jail following an arrest. If a defendant who is out on bail fails to appear for a scheduled court hearing, they forfeit their bail and will be rearrested and charged with an additional crime. Bail can be paid or pledged in the form of cash, collateral, or surety bond.
A – Agreement
When you bail someone out of jail using a bail bond company, you will be required to sign a legally-binding contract called a bail agreement. In the contract, you take on full responsibility for the person you are bailing out of jail. This means that if they do not appear for all scheduled court hearings, you are legally responsible for paying back the entire remaining bail amount.
I – Indemnitor
As someone who signs a bail bond agreement, you become an indemnitor. This is the co-signer (or guarantor) of the defendant who is responsible for all the terms and conditions of the bail contract. This includes paying back the bail premium in the case that the defendant fails to appear for court or skips bail.
L – Lien
A lien is a right to keep possession of property belonging to another person until a debt owed by that person is discharged. In the bail bond industry, this pertains to collateral. When a bail bond co-signer uses collateral such as a house or land, that collateral can have a lien placed against it if the defendant fails to appear for all scheduled court hearings and the cosigner cannot pay back the entire bail premium.
B – Bail Bond
You already know that bail is the fee set by the judge, and the money that must be paid for a release from jail while awaiting trial. However, a bail bond is a method of pledging or paying bail to the courts without having to pay the entire premium. Bail bonds are paid for in cash or collateral, and are non-refundable. For example, if the defendant’s bail is set at $10,000, a bail bond will cost anywhere from $1000 to $1,500 depending on the rate the bail agency uses. The remainder of the ten grand is backed by the bail bond company; but if the defendant fails to appear for court, the co-signer or guarantor (you) must pay back the rest of the money.
O – Own Recognizance
When a defendant is released from jail without having to post bail, but under the agreement that they will appear for all scheduled court hearings, it is called “ROR,” or being released on their “own recognizance” since they are being trusted to make the right choices. This privilege is at the discretion of the residing judge.
N – Notice of Forfeiture
A Notice of Forfeiture is a formal legal document sent by the court to the acting bail bondsman in the case that a defendant fails to appear for a scheduled hearing. It informs the representing bail bondsman that their client has been charged with an FTA (Failure to Appear), and must appear for court or pay the remainder of their bail amount.
D – Discharge of Bail Bond
Also known as “exoneration”, discharge of bail is simply the removal of all bail liabilities taken on under the bail bond agreement. When a defendant appears for all scheduled court hearings, completes their sentencing and court orders, and satisfies all other court and bail terms, the bail co-signer is exonerated from all responsibilities in regards to the defendant’s legal position. If collateral was used to obtain a bail bond, it is returned once the courts verify the bail bond discharge.
S – Surety
A surety is an individual or entity that pays bail for a defendant and then assumes responsibility of a defendant. A surety is also known as a co-signer, guarantor, or indemnitor. As a surety, you have a legal obligation to the courts and the bail bonds company that you will ensure the defendant appears for all scheduled court hearings and obeys all court orders until their sentence is completed.