BAIL BOND ALERT
When a friend or relative is arrested, you may be asked to put up your home as security for a
ball bond. The following information will help you decide whether or not you should.
What is a bail bond? A bail bond is
a financial guarantee that a criminal
defendant will show up for court
appearances and the trial. It is a form of
insurance policy for the court. If the
defendant does not show up, the amount of
the bond is paid to the court and a warrant
is issued for the defendant's arrest. If the
defendant is found, the court may reinstate
the bond, or it may order the bond amount
to be forfeited.
How does a bail bond work? The
court will set the amount of bail. Under
California law, a bonding (surety) company
provides a type of insurance policy that
guarantees payment of the bond to the
court if the defendant does not show up for
a court appearance or trial. Bonding
companies sell these insurance policies
through agents or bail bondsmen(women),
who charge a premium plus a service fee.
The premium is a percentage of the total
bond amount, typically about 10%. On a
$50,000 bond, the premium would be about
$5,000 plus the service fee, which could be
several hundred dollars.
Why will I be asked to put my
house up as security? The bonding
company wants to make sure that if it has
to pay the full amount of the bond to the
court, it can get the money back from you. If
you have other assets, such as stocks,
investment bonds, jewelry, vehicles or other
valuables, these might be acceptable to the
bail bondsman(woman) and bonding
company. But most bonding companies
prefer real property as security for a bail
What does it mean to "put my
house up as "security" for a bail bond?
It generally means that you will sign a deed
of trust against your property naming the
bonding company as beneficiary. The trust
deed will be recorded with the County.
Recorder as a lien against your property. If
you default (the bondi