Although the bail bond process has been around for hundreds of years, many attorneys and clients are unaware of the basic bail bond process in Arizona. For this reason, we have created this quick outline to answer some of the most common questions your clients might ask you.
1) WHAT ARE THE TYPICAL TYPES OF BONDS POSTED?
Without getting into too much detail there are 2 types of bonds that are the most common: 1) Secure Bonds -which allows the bond company to take collateral and post with a written bond that holds that bail bond company responsible for the full amount should the client get re-arrested or not show to court and 2) Cash Bonds – which requires that the bond be paid in full and with cash only.
2) WHAT IS THE STANDARD COST OF POSTING A BOND?
Arizona requires a bail bond company to charge 10% of any bond as their fee for a “Secure” Bond”. Bond companies can set up a minimum on this charge such as $150 minimum but can’t charge more than the 10% fee for a secure bond. If the bond is a “Cash Only” bond then the bond company has the right to charge what they feel is appropriate if they are going to be supplying their own cash. All bond companies should be requiring collateral to secure the bond equal to or greater than the bond amount regardless of whether it is a “Secure” or “Cash” bond.
3) WHAT DO YOU TAKE FOR COLLATERAL?
Most companies will accept Cash, Credit Cards, Electronics, Firearms, Jewelry, Vehicles and Homes/Property. Jewelry must be appraised. Cars must be registered and insured in Arizona, have a clean title and be paid for in full with no liens. Should property be used then that property must be current in payment of taxes and whoever owns the property must be able to provide mortgage statements, a deed, and proof of the value of the house with an appraisal.
4) HOW DO I PROTECT MY COLLATERAL/CASH SO I DON’T LOSE IT?
That is one of the benefits of using a bail bonds company. Most require all clients to follow conditions of release which include constant communication, weekly check-ins, updated and current addresses, court updates along with open communication with the family/friends that put up their collateral. Additional conditions of release can be added per the Indemnitor (person putting up collateral) request. Ex (Curfew, No Contact, House Arrest, and Ankle Monitor)
If you feel that the client will not go to court, is combative about the bond process, or is still running with a crowd that could result in additional police involvement, you have the right to revoke the bond and place that person back in jail. There are costs to revoking a bond and your bail bonds company should discuss all of these costs prior to the bond being posted.
5) WHEN DO I GET MY MONEY/ PROPERTY BACK?
A bond is only a promise to appear at court and is not affected by the guilt or innocence of the client. Once a judge has made his final ruling regarding the case, a letter of exoneration will be issued. Usually, the attorney will receive this exoneration once the case is over. This exoneration should be sent to the bond company immediately. If the attorney is unable to get this document from the court, a client or family member can go to the clerk of the court and request a copy as well. Once the bond company receives the letter of exoneration and all outstanding fees have been paid, the bond company can close the account and return any collateral. A reputable bond company should return all collateral to its clients within 14 days.
These are usually the 5 most commonly asked questions regarding the bond process. Although you don’t need to know these items verbatim, it does help in preparing your client with a little information. Randy Feldman