- ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS ABOUT BAIL BONDS
If you have questions about bail bonds or the bail bonding process, we hope this page can provide some help. Below are questions we have heard from those looking for a bondsmen. The answers are fairly general so it’s best to call if you have specific concerns or need further assistance. Our professional bail bond agents are standing by to assist you anywhere in Colorado Springs, Castle Rock, Pueblo or the greater metro areas.
WHAT IS BAIL?
Bail is an amount of money or property that is deposited with a court by a person who has been charged with a crime. A defendant who has been arrested for a crime will usually be held in custody until some form of bail has been posted. Bail is the defendant’s guarantee to be present at all court proceedings.
DO I HAVE A RIGHT TO RELEASE ON BAIL?
Yes, for most offenses, except murder and certain violent felonies.
HOW IS THE AMOUNT OF BAIL SET?
The amount and type of bail are fixed by the judge at the first appearance before the court. A court will consider the defendants individual circumstances when the amount of bail is set. The bail amount must be sufficient to ensure that the defendant will appear for all scheduled proceedings. A court must also consider the safety of the community, the seriousness of the alleged crime and the defendant’s record.
WHAT ARE THE MOST COMMON TYPES OF BAIL BONDS?
All bail bonds are “appearance bonds.” Appearance bonds can be posted by a bail bonding agent. Personal recognizance bonds” and “property bonds” are obtained from a court.
WHAT IS A “PERSONAL RECOGNIZANCE BOND”?
A “personal recognizance bond,” when authorized by a court, permits release from custody on the defendant’s “personal recognizance,” which is a promise to appear as required by a court.
It is not necessary to deposit money with the court.
Failure to appear will result in the issuance of an arrest warrant.
The district attorney must consent to a defendant’s release on personal recognizance bond in any case involving:
- felony charges
- class 1 misdemeanor charges
- defendant’s prior conviction of a felony within the last 5 years
- defendant’s prior conviction of a class 1 misdemeanor within the last 2 years, or
- defendant’s previous failure to appear on a bail bond
WHAT IS A “PROPERTY BOND”?
A “property bond” may only be obtained from a court.
If the court permits, a defendant may be allowed to deposit cash or other valuable property to be held by the clerk as a guarantee that the defendant will appear as required.
Some jurisdictions allow property bonds guaranteed by a pledge of unencumbered equity in Colorado real estate. Equity of no less than 1&1/2 times the bail amount is required.
Some courts do not allow real estate to be used as a property bond. Requirements and procedures for property bonds vary between jurisdictions.
WHAT IS A BAIL BONDING AGENT?
A bail bonding agent posts a defendant’s appearance bond and guarantees that the defendant will appear whenever required.
Bail bonding agents must be licensed by the State and have an appointment from an insurance company or be a qualified cash bonding agent.
Bail bonding agents are paid a premium, which is usually nonrefundable, to post the bond.
If the defendant fails to appear, the court may order the bond “forfeited” and require the bonding agent to pay the court the full amount of the bond. Bail bonding agents have the right to apprehend, return the defendant to custody, and use collateral taken for the bond to pay the bond forfeiture and costs.
WHAT ARE “BOND CONDITIONS”?
The defendant must also agree to meet certain requirements known as “conditions.” The most important condition is that the defendant appear at all hearings.
Failure to appear may result in arrest and forfeiture of the bond amount. “Failure to Appear” is a separate criminal offense that can result in imprisonment from 6 months to 1 year and the loss of eligibility for probation or suspended sentence. (’18-8-212, C.R.S.)
Other standard conditions prohibit the defendant from committing a crime or leaving Colorado while released on bail.
The defendant must acknowledge the existence of a mandatory restraining order that prohibits contact with witnesses or the alleged victim.
Defendants are commonly required to immediately notify the court of any change in residence or mailing address.
AM I REQUIRED TO APPEAR AT ALL COURT HEARINGS?
Yes. The most important condition of the bond is your agreement to appear at each and every court hearing. It is your responsibility to know where and when those hearings are set.
WHAT HAPPENS IF I FAIL TO APPEAR IN COURT AS REQUIRED?
The court may issue a warrant for your arrest, revoke your bond or increase the amount of your bond.
You may also be charged with a completely new crime, known as “failure to appear.”
The bail bond may be forfeited and the property or money deposited as collateral for the bail bond may be lost.
WHAT SHOULD I DO IF I MISS A COURT APPEARANCE DATE?
It is important for you to act quickly. If you posted a bond with a bail bonding agent, contact the agent immediately.
The bail bonding agent may provide you with “consent of surety.” You must take the consent of surety to the court clerk and ask for a new court date.
If you did not post a bond through a bonding agent, then go to the court clerk as soon as possible and make arrangements for a new court date.
In either case, a warrant was probably issued for your arrest for failure to appear.
For more Bail Bond information download the following Adobe Acrobat PDF from the State of Colorado: http://www.dora.state.co.us/insurance/pb/bail.pdf