A bail bond agent, or bondsman, is any person or corporation that will act as a surety and accept pledges of money or property as bail for the appearance of persons accused in court. Although banks, insurance companies and other similar institutions are usually the sureties on other types of contracts, such individuals or companies are hesitant to put their depositors’ or policyholders’ funds at the risk typically involved in posting a bail bond. Bail bond agents on the other hand, are usually in the business to cater to criminal defendants, often securing their customers’ release in just a few hours.
Colorado law considers several components a judge must review when determining the bail amount. Some factors include the severity of the crime the defendant is accused of, past criminal history, employment status, financial circumstances and the defendant’s family dynamics.
A surety bond can be secured from a bail bondsman to obtain the defendant’s release from jail. The bail bond agency will generally charge a non-refundable fee of the bail amount for its assistance and will post the entire amount to the court. The bail bond amount will be returned to the agency in full once the defendant appears in court.
Once the defendant’s bail is placed they may be released from jail. If they are being held in a city jail, discharge may take place within 15 minutes to 2 hours. However, because county court is more heavily occupied, release may take up to 8 hours.
In addition to a percentage fee, the bail bond company may also request that the defendant arrange further collateral, usually valued at the full bond amount. If the defendant fails to appear in court, the bond is forfeited and property may be seized, along with other valuables including bank accounts, cars, houses and jewelry.
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