The concept of bail was adopted from England by the early settlers in America. The bail system was instituted to allow persons that had committed non-threatening crimes, to be released from custody while awaiting trial. Unfortunately, not all persons were able to afford the bail amounts that were set by the courts. Therefore, the bail bond industry came into effect. A bail bondsman will front the bail, plus a fee, to the court on behalf of the accused with the agreement that they will appear before the court at their appointed time.
In 1779, the U.S. Constitution made changes that limited bail amounts by stating “excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted”. This law (the 8th Amendment) was designed to protect all defendants that were not charged with a murder or serious crime from having to post excessively high bail amounts regardless of social status. However, many still could not afford the set bail amounts and found they needed another source to aid in posting bail. From this dilemma, the modern bail bondsman was created.
From the inception of the 8th Amendment, bail was required for non-serious crimes, yet there was no clear definition of how the bail and bail bond system was to operate. The Bail Reformation of 1966 allowed defendants the right to freely leave custody with the knowledge that they were to return for a set court date. The court had the right to deny bail if they felt that the defendant was a possible flight risk or if evidence was presented that would negate a bail being set. These regulations helped to form the bail bond system and allow bail bondsmen to assist those who could not afford to post bail for themselves.
However, less than twenty years later, the government issued a reform act called the Comprehensive Crime Control Act of 1984. This act gave judges the freedom to set or deny bail based on the crime and if an individual was a threat to the community. Because the bail bondsmen industry was so popular, it was beginning to become a quick money scheme for those that were offering these services. This reform act of 1984 quickly moved the bail bonds industry into a law abiding system that helped those that were unable to help themselves.
The bail bonds system of today works seamlessly and easily for those that need these services. An individual that has been arrested can contact a licensed bail bondsmen and have bail posted within hours of their arrest. The accused and the bondsmen enter into an agreement that they will appear for their scheduled court date or the bail and fee will be forfeited. This will result in the accused being surrendered into custody. If they fail to do so, an arrest warrant will be issued.
The bail bondsmen industry is a necessity to the legal system of today. Without this system, many would remain behind bars when it is not a necessity.