Many times when you contract with a bail bondsman to get yourself or your loved one out of jail, they will do what's called a signature bond where you're only required to sign a contract agreeing to the terms. In some cases, though, the bail bond company may ask you to provide collateral (e.g. a house or jewelry) backing the bond. Here are three reasons why this may occur.
The Bail is Too High
The reason why courts order bail is to ensure the defendant shows up for his or her court appointments. If the person fails to appear in court, the bail amount is forfeited to the state, and the person who put up the money will never see it again. So when a bail bond company secures the bond for someone, they are the ones who will have to pay the state if the defendant is a no show.
Every bail company has a max limit they're willing to risk, which may be influenced by whether or not they can get their money back from the person signing the contract. If the bail amount is at or above the company's risk limit, you may be asked to put up collateral for the bond.
You likely don't have to worry about this issue with low dollar bonds, such as $1,000 or even $5,000. However, when you start getting into five or six figure amounts, you need to be prepared to give the bond company some type of collateral in addition to the fee (up to 15 percent of the bail amount in Nevada) you must pay for the service.
You Don't Have the Financial Resources to Pay the Bond
Another reason you may be asked to provide collateral is the bail bond company has determined you don't have the financial means to pay them back if the bail they put up is forfeited. Although the bond company will be required to pay the state the entire bail amount if the defendant is a no show, the law lets them pursue reimbursement from the person who signed the contract.
So when you contact a bail bond company to get yourself or your loved one out of jail, the company may ask you a variety of questions to assess your ability to repay them in the event the person being bonded skips out on his or her court dates. If the company feels you don't have enough cash flow to cover the entire bail amount—especially if it's high—it may ask you to put up some collateral.
The Person Being Bailed Has Skipped Out Before
A third factor the bail bond company may consider when deciding whether to require collateral is the history of the person being bailed. If that individual has ever skipped bail before, the bondsman may ask for collateral. This is because the company may feel there is a chance the person will not show again, thus causing it to forfeit the money it gave the court.
Therefore, it may hedge its bet by asking you to put up collateral to back the bond. The company may also feel that if you put something valuable on the line, you may be more motivated to ensure you or your loved one make those required court dates.
It can be disconcerting to be required to put up your home, car, or other valuable item to secure a bond. However, as long as you or the person being bailed show up to court when required, you will get the collateral back once the case is resolved. For more information about posting collateral for a bond, contact a local bail bondsman from a company like All Star Bail Bonds.