Large Bail Bonds
Bail Bond Questions and Answers – Large Bond Info.
There is always confusion when writing a large bond for a few reasons. The first being that large bonds generally require collateral from more than one person and the more people you have involved the more concerns there are. What one may be concerned about another may not have even thought about so clear communication is a must with everyone involved. In a perfect world you would get everyone in the same room and go over the bond process and requirements from “A to Z” and address everyone’s questions at once but generally this is just not realistic. It’s not realistic because people often live far away from each other, job or school schedules, out of state or a combination. A few other reasons would be privacy of their personal information, disclosure of their assets and specific questions pertaining to them. Just because there are more than one cosigner for a bond does not mean that everyone owns the same amount of collateral, pays an equal amount of the deposit for premium or needs to be exposed to being involved in conversations as to why they will only use or pay a certain percent. Bottom line is that all relationships between the defendant and cosigners are different. With that being said I must also say that just because the amounts being used for collateral or the amount being paid toward the premium deposit maybe different it does not mean that all cosigners are not responsible for the full bond should the defendant skip bail and decide not to come to court or should the remainder of the premium not be paid.
Some questions that I see when doing large bonds;
- What forms of collateral can be used?
- For most bonds property is what is used for collateral. This is because it is easy to figure out its value and the equity amount. Unlike a car pink slip the house cannot be sold like a car making the collateral disappear. Cars that are owned and other things of provable value can be used. Businesses are also used but the time it takes to figure out the value when needing a bond generally takes too long. The other issues are that the inventory of a company are not held by the bond company and can also disappear. While most anything of provable value can be used a property is the simplest.
- Can my property be used as collateral?
- Example; a home that is worth $400,000.00 using sales comps not what you think it’s worth and there is a loan on the property owing $250,000.00 would have approximately $150,000.00 in value minus the cost to sell the property of about $25,000.00. This would make the equity worth about $175,000.00 and can be used for collateral of this amount.
- Example; a home that is worth $300,000.00 and has an existing loan of $280,000.00 would have about $20,000.00 in equity but after sales cost estimated at about $20,000.00 there would be no value left to be used for collateral.
- Does the collateral have to be the full amount of the bond?
- Generally bond companies want the collateral to be in the amount of the total bond they are posting. However depending on the qualifications of all the cosigners bonds are written on partial collateral. You will find yourself hard pressed to find someone to write a bond with collateral being half of the bond cost on large bonds but usually ¾ is more realistic again depending on the collateral itself.
- Does the defendant have to wear a GPS Monitor?
- If the bond is full collateralized then wearing a GPS bracelet is generally not necessary.
- If the bond is $500,000.00 and collateral is $300,000.00 then wearing a bracelet can be the deciding factor for getting a bond company to post a bond for you.
- Can the defendant leave the state?
- This is generally a two part question. First is will the court allow you to leave the state while out on bond. This is something that usually is best answered by your attorney.
- The other is will a bond company allow you to leave the state? The answer is usually yes so long as they know and it has been communicated with them prior to. If you travel a lot then it is best to find a bond company that ahead of time knows and feels comfortable with it.
- What happens if I want to change the property used for collateral along the way?
- So long as the property and that will be used in trade is equal value in equity most likely it would not be a problem especially when the bond is fully collateralized. However there are times that equal equity may not offer up to the same
- Example; the bond amount is $ 250,000.00 and the family wants to sell the home being used for collateral during the course of the bond. Another family member has a home that also has $ 250,000.00 in equity and they would like to have the bond company use this home instead of the home currently being used. This should be an easy swap.
- Example; the bond is $ 250,000.00 and the property being used as collateral is the “mothers” home with $ 200,000.00 in equity which is less than fully collateralized. The property being used is a short term girlfriend or boyfriends property which also has $ 200,000.00 in equity. Since the bond is already under collateralized there is added value in the property being used owned by the “mother” over the value of a property used by a short term boyfriend or girlfriend. This is because most people would never leave their mother in a homeless position which has added value over the other property even though the dollar figure in equity is the same.
- What happens if I cosign for the bond and the defendant does not make the payments?
- The reason the cosigner is involved is generally because the defendant does not qualify for the bond without one. The cosigner is responsible for the defendant going to court, bond premium and if the bond should be forfeited.
- What happens if the defendant does not go to court and the bond is forfeited and I have more equity in my home than the others that have cosigned?
- Usually with large bonds having enough equity to collateralize the bond 100% is already very hard to do and more times than not the bonds are collateralized with less collateral than the full amount of the bond. The bond company and surety will expect to be paid for all cost using all collateral necessary to be reimbursed for their loss. If there is more equity or collateral than the amount of the bond then it will usually be paid equally by all cosigners so long as there is enough collateral or equity to do so. Every cosigner is responsible for the surety being paid in full. More often than not everyone involved will have different amounts of equity in their homes used towards collateralizing a bond and all collateral taken will be used to reimburse the amount of the bond forfeiture. Example; If the bond company was posting a $250,000.00 bond and there were two cosigners one with $100,000.00 in property equity and another with $200,000.00 in equity the $100,000.00 would be obtained from the first property and the balance would be obtained from the second property.
- What happens if a mistake is made such as the defendant either gets a flat tire on the way to court or over sleeps?
- A bond is not to be used and forfeited by the court as punishment. It is to assure the defendant shows up to court and does as the court orders. This means that provable mistakes can usually be corrected. If a mistake is made the bond company along with the defendant’s attorney can usually file a re-assumption of the bond and reset the court date. With that being said it would depend on the circumstances as to whether the judge would impose additional or higher bond amount to be posted. Example; a bond is posted for $20,000.00 and on the court date a defendants name is called and they are not in court. The judge will order the bond forfeited and a warrant for the defendant. The judge at that time may accept a re-assumption of the original $20,000.00 bond or require the defendant’s bond be raised. If the re-assumption is accepted by the court a new court date will be set and the defendant would be back on track, however this bond could be raised for example to $25,000.00 to $ 50,000.00 depending on the situation and reasoning for failure to appear. This would mean that the bond company would have to be willing to post another bond for the higher amount, the cosigners would have to be responsible for the higher bond amount and the premium would have to be paid for this bond amount. You bond company may accept just the additional premium to make up the difference or require the full premium for the new bond. There also may be additional collateral necessary to secure the higher bond cost.
- What happens if the defendant is found guilty? Will I have to pay the full bond amount?
- The bond is in place to assure the defendant shows up to court and turns himself in should that be required. Whether the defendant is guilty, innocent or plea bargains to have his case over the bond is not effected. The bond is in place to assure the defendant shows up to court for the entire process not as payment should they be found guilty. Generally on sentencing day, the day a plea is signed or the day the charges are dropped the bond is exonerated. There are few times that the court does not exonerate the bond at this time on the record and usually if this happens it is simply overlooked. Exonerated means that the Bond Company and cosigners do not have liability for this bond any longer. Example; it is kind of like writing void on a check and the bond company and cosigners are off the hook and have no further responsibility.