When is Collateral Needed With a Bail Bond?

Collateral provides your bondsman with the assurance that you’ll show up when you need to.

If someone who is arrested is given the opportunity to secure their release on bail but they don’t have the available funds to cover the full amount of bail set by the courts (or by a bail schedule), they can make use of the services provided by a bail bonds organization.

By providing a portion of the bail amount (usually 10%), the bail bondsman will post the full bail to the courts on their behalf. Under the arrangement made between the bail bondsman and the arrestee, the funds provided are non-refundable, and the arrestee makes a commitment to attend all required court hearings.

CollateralSince the bail bond company is responsible for paying the full bail amount to the courts should the arrestee not comply with these requirements, there needs to be some additional incentives set in place to ensure that the arrestee does show up. These additional incentives include the ability of the bail bondsman to locate, detain and return the arrestee to their court proceedings should they attempt to flee, with such abilities to detain often exceeding what is allowed by local and state law enforcement, as well as the posting of collateral.

Principle Plus Collateral Equals Commitment

The upfront and non-refundable payment made to the bail bonds company is known as the principle. This amount must be provided in full to create the agreement between the bail bondsman and the arrestee.

In most cases, the arrestee is also required to provide additional collateral, up to or exceeding the total value of the bail that the bondsman would have to pay should the arrestee not appear at court.

There are typical assets provided by the arrestee, their family or friends, including real estate,  vehicles, jewelry and other pawnable items. There are also some non-typical items that have been known to be used as collateral, including designer handbags, high-end wine, unclaimed lottery tickets and even cheese wheels. Of course, the value (current and future) and liquidity of the assets being used as collateral is really all that matters to the bondsman.

Can you keep using something that has been posted as collateral?

The bondsman needs to know that they can claim the value of the asset used as collateral should the arrestee make the decision not to appear at their court proceedings. Therefore, the ability to retain possession of an asset used as collateral, and to continue to make use of it, depends on the ability to the bondsman to make a claim on its value with or without it in their possession. If an item can be claimed with documentation alone, which is the case with real estate (the deed to a property) or a vehicle (the vehicle title), then the person posting the collateral can generally maintain possession of the item and continue to use it even if it is being used as collateral. That is, you can continue to live in your home and drive your car.

However, such arrangements can’t easily be made with other items, and in the case of things like jewelry, electronics and other such assets, using them as collateral means handing them over to the bondsman to keep while court proceedings continue.

As with bail, regardless of the outcomes at court, these assets are returned at the end of the trial if the arrestee has followed through on all required appearances.

Whatever the charge that you or a loved one are facing, if you’re in need of a bail bond to secure release, call Fred Frank Bail Bonds today at 410-367-2245.