Q: What is a bail bond?
A: A bail bond, or a surety bond, is a contract between a licensed bail bond agent the court and the defendant that guarantees the defendant will appear for all required court appearances. For his part, the bail bond agent ensures the court that if the defendant does not appear, the full amount of the bond will paid to the court, and an arrest warrant is issued for the defendant. The bail bond agent will surrender the defendant, if possible.
Q: How is a bail bond amount determined?
A: The amount of bail that the court sets is based first on a bail schedule, which is a list of typical bail amounts for each crime. With this in mind, the court will look at the nature of the crime, the defendant’s criminal history, the severity of the crime, and the likelihood that the defendant will show up for court appearances, which is determined by the defendant’s ties to the community, employment history, nearby family, wealth, etc. After taking all of this into consideration, bail will be set.
Q: WHAT HAPPENS IF THE DEFENDANT DOES NOT APPEAR FOR A COURT DATE?
A: A WARRANT IS ISSUED FOR THE DEFENDANTS ARREST. THE BONDSMAN THEN MUST RE-ARREST OR PAY THE WHOLE AMOUNT OF THE BOND TO THE COURT. (THIS IS NOT THE PREMIUM). The bondsman may hire somebody to arrest the defendant and require the Indemnitor to pay for this service.
Q: How much does a bail bond cost?
A: In the state of Florida, as in most states, a bondsman will charge a “premium” which is typically 10% of the bond amount. In federal cases, the bail premium is 15% of the bond amount. For example, if an inmate has a $5000 bond, the premium will be $500. In Florida, the minimum premium amount for any bond under $1000 is $100, and 10% for any amount over $1000. Each charge for which the defendant was arrested will have a 10% premium.
These fees are regulated by the state and not the bondsman.
Q: WHAT IS AN INDEMNITOR FOR A BOND?
A: An Indemnitor (or co-signer) is the individual who obtains the bond for the defendant and signs responsibility for it. If the defendant decides to not show up for court, it is the Indemnitor that will lose their collateral, so this responsibility should be considered very carefully.
Q: How do I pay for a bail bond?
A: You can post the full amount of the bond with the court but this could affect your ability to obtain a court-appointed lawyer, and the court may use your cash to pay for your court fees. It’s advisable to pay a licensed bail bondsman a premium to post the bond for you.
Q: What do you accept for payments?
A: We accept cash, major credit cards and debit cards.
Q: Do you offer credit or financing?
A: Yes. We offer many different payment options and will always make sure you can afford the terms. We’ll work with you to determine what will best fit your budget.
Q: What is Collateral on a Bond?
A: Collateral is something of value the defendant or Indemnitor use to secure a bail bond, usually in the form of real estate, or cash, but a bondsman may accept other items if they have enough worth. Failure of the defendant to appear in court and the bail bondsman cannot locate him, the collateral is forfeited and sold for cash to pay for the bond.
Q: I do not have collateral, Can I still use a Bail Bondsman?
A: Yes. A Promissory note and Indemnity Agreement are all that is required for collateral in most cases.
Q: If I use collateral, when do I get it back?
A: Any collateral used to secure a bail bond is returned to you once the defendant’s case is over, all the obligations of the court have been satisfied, and the bond has been discharged or released by the court.
Q: What am I responsible for when I bond someone out?
A: As the Indemnitor, you are responsible for making sure the defendant appears at all required court appearances and to pay any payments for payment plans associated with the bond. If the defendant skips, you are also responsible for any costs incurred to the bondsman, normally associated with the location and apprehension of a defendant, up to and including the full amount of the bond.
Q: What happens if the defendant fails to appear for court?
A: If a defendant fails to appear for their court case in Florida, you have 60 days from the date of the bond forfeiture to pay the bond amount in full or return the defendant to custody. Any collateral used to secure the bail bond may be forfeited as well.
Q: Can I bond someone out of jail in another county or state?
A: Yes. We offer service statewide and nationwide, but a transfer fee may apply.
Q: What are your business hours?
A: We are open 24 hours a day. 7 days a week.
Q: Can I meet the bail bondsman at the jail or the courthouse to fill out the paperwork?
A: No. The state regulates where a bondsman may conduct business and by law, he may not do business in a jail, courthouse, parking lot or adjacent parking lots. Any reputable bail bondsman will always have an office to meet with their clients.
Q. WHAT IS THE RELEASE TIME?
A. Typically we can get a defendant out of jail within 2-6 hours.
Q: I need to find a Notary Public, do you have Notary service?
A: Yes. We have a Notary Public available upon request.
Q: I have other questions not listed here, how do I get more information about bail bonds?
A: You can contact Mercy Bail Bonds with any additional questions or concerns at (727) 856-7775. Our phone is always answered by a licensed bail bondsman who can answer any additional questions and guide you through the bail bond process.