What is a bond? Why do you need one?

If you are arrested on a criminal charge, a judge may set a bond. A bond allows your release from jail before you actually go to court for your hearing or trial. Bond is your promise, guaranteed by your own money or by a bondsman that you will show up at court every time you are required to be there for the duration of your case. If you do not show up, you will lose your bond money, or the bondsman will be required to find you and bring you to court. Dog the Bounty Hunter is a bondsman, and he will track you down. If you do not want “The Dog” hunting you, then you must show up for court.

When a judge allows you to post bond after you have been arrested, the judge can impose special or additional conditions on your release, depending on the circumstances of your case. There are four main types of bonds in Indiana, and each has different requirements. The judge can ask you to post a surety bond, a cash bond, a real estate bond, or you may be asked to execute a bond secured by real estate, or some combination of these bonds. The judge may also release you on your own recognizance; in other words, you could be released without having to put up any money at all, but judges will not often release you on your own recognizance without requiring you to post a bond of some type. In most cases, if you are arrested, you will be required to post either a cash bond or a surety bond in order to make your bail and be released from jail before your court hearing or trial.

What is a cash bond?

A cash bond requires that you pay the full amount of your bond before you will be released from jail. When your case is over, whether you are found innocent or guilty, the cash bond will be refunded to you, but fines, fees, and other court costs will be deducted from your cash bond. Any remaining bond money will be refunded to you.

 

What is a surety bond?

Most people cannot afford the full amount of a cash bond. A surety bond allows a third-party guarantor, usually a bail bondsman, to guarantee that you will appear in court whenever you are required to be there. The bail bondsman makes the financial commitment to the court on your behalf, and you must pay the bondsman a percentage of the surety bond, usually ten percent, for this service. A surety bond costs much less than a cash bond.

 

How does it work?

For example, in Cass County, the bond for a class “D” felony is set at $5000 for a surety bond and $1000 for a cash bond. If you can pay $1000 to the court, you will be released from jail until your court hearing or trial. When you come back to court and your case is over, the court will return your $1000 cash bond, after your fines, court costs, and fees have been deducted from it.

If you cannot afford the $1000 cash bond, you may be able to swing the 10% required for a $5000 surety bond. The surety bond will cost you $500 for your release from jail. However, after you have come back to court and your case is over, you will not receive any of your $500 back. Your $500 will be used to pay the surety bondsman. In some cases, there are also fees that might be added to the cost of your surety bond. One such fee goes to the Widows and Orphans Fund and costs five dollars, and there may also be credit card fees.

 

How does a judge set bond?

Bond can be set in many ways, but most often, bond is set according to the schedule that has been established in your county. Different counties often have different bond schedules. A judge may also use bail to keep you in jail. A judge has the authority to increase the amount of the bond, if you are considered to be a danger to yourself or to your community, if you are considered a threat to another person, or if you are considered a flight risk. If you have been arrested for murder and there is strong evidence of your guilt, the judge is not required to set a bond.

A judge can also revoke your bail, if the prosecution can show clear and convincing evidence that you pose a risk to your own physical safety, someone else’s physical safety, or the community. A judge can also revoke your bail if the prosecution can show clear and convincing proof that you threatened or intimidated a victim, prospective witness, or jurors. A judge can revoke your bail if you attempt to conceal, or destroy evidence, if you violate a condition of your current bail, or if you fail to appear before the court as you have been ordered to do during any phase of your case. A judge can revoke your bail if you commit a class “A” misdemeanor or a felony that “demonstrates disdain for the court’s authority to bring you to trial.” Any combination of these factors can also cause a judge to revoke your bail.

If you have been arrested and accused of domestic violence, the judge cannot release you for at least eight hours after the time of your arrest, and a judge may also impose special conditions on you when you post bond in a domestic violence situation. A judge may order you, as a condition of your bail, to have no contact with the victim. The judge may also impose other reasonable restrictions on your activities, movements, and associations for the entire time that you remain on bail, and you may also be placed under the supervision of a probation officer, a pretrial service agency, or other public official.

The judge will set your bond according the schedule established in your county, but you may ask the court to reduce the amount of your bond. The judge will consider several factors when deciding whether to reduce the amount of your bond. For example, how long have you lived in the community; what is your character; what is your employment status; do you have the money to post bail; do you have family ties and relationships in the community; what is your reputation in the community; what kind of habits do you have; what is your mental condition?