Why Getting a $1,000 Bail Bond is Next to Impossible
Ever wonder why it's so difficult to hire a bail agent to process a $1,000 bail bond? Well here’s why, and the answer surely will surprise you.
Reason #1 - The Government’s embrace of circular bail bond filings
During court hours, bail agents must file a bail bond TWICE, just to get a single release. Today’s filing procedures require a bail bond FIRST be filed with the court (usually around 30 minutes), then the certified copy shall be filed a second time with the cell block detaining the bailee; typically the second filing is with the police or sheriff’s office (roughly 2-3 hours). The process concludes with the exact same bail bond, which was just filed at the court hours before, being delivered back to the court the following business day. Bail agents commute twice, submit paperwork twice, but only collect a fee once. When the government requires twice the work, for the same highly regulated 10% fee, today's bail agent can't consistently cover their own costs if only $100 is collected.
Reason #2 - Fees, fees, fees
Did you know that a $250 fee is commonly assessed upon defendants and bail posters when a bail is reinstated? Oh wait, you wouldn’t know that, since ONLY BAIL COMPANIES are assessed a $250 “court costs” fee when bail is reinstated. Here's how only the bail agent gets singled out for fees.
When a defendant is released through the intake service center (ISC) and misses court, does the ISC get assessed $250 when a defendant is placed back on Supervised Released (SR)? No.
When a defendant is released through posting cash and misses court, does the cash posted get deducted by $250 as a condition of reinstatement? No.
When a defendant is released through posting a bail bond and misses court, does the court charge $250 as a contingency for a forfeiture set aside? 100% , yes!
Only bail agents are assessed court costs as a consequence of reinstating a bail. In addition to singling out bail companies for costs, the court compels payment in a clever, but heavy handed fashion; companies must pay the $250 fee, or else the court won’t vacate the $1,000 forfeiture. Here's an example ⬇️:
Reason #3 - Fugitive Recovery Costs versus Paying $1,000
The time, danger, and aggravation of finding a wayward client whom hasn’t bothered to keep in contact with his/her/they attorney or bail agent, isn't worth the stress. When you’ve only collected $100, and someone misses court, here’s the bail agent’s decision tree:
- Admit you’ve written a bad bond, and pay the court $1,000 to keep your license in good standing.
- Find the wayward client, petition the court for a bench warrant recall and forfeiture set aside, and pay a private attorney $500 + tax for the motion, then pay court costs of $250. $750 + tax total.
- Never again enter into a contract with a $1,000 bail client. Collecting $100 today, to perhaps owe $1,000 next week, is a poor business practice.
So there you go jail mail readers, now you know why bail agents rarely, if ever, do $1,000 bail bonds. But let's keep it positive; here are some pragmatic solutions to help clients actually get a release at the $100 price point.
- Allow bail agents to use the same electronic filing system for bail bonds that attorneys are required to use for motion filings.
- Ban $250 court costs assessments stemming from bail reinstatements. It’s punitive in nature, and the purpose of bail is to guarantee a defendant’s appearance in court; bail is not to be a viewed as a revenue stream for the state.
- Waive set aside requirements upon reinstatement of a bail bond. You can’t simultaneously have a bond forfeited and reinstated; its one or the other. Baked into the status of a bail bond reinstated, is that it's NOT forfeited. Since the forfeiture piece is moot, there's no need for a second set aside motion; implicit in the restatement is that the forfeiture is set aside.