More than likely, the first thought when someone is arrested for a criminal offense is am I going to jail, and if so, when can I get out of jail? There is a lot of confusion about bail and bond procedures – it is even worse during such a time-sensitive and stressful time. A basic understanding of the terms and process can alleviate a lot of this confusion and ensure that defendants, and their families, are put in the best position moving forward after a criminal charge.
Bail and Bond are often used interchangeably but in Virginia, these words do have different meanings.
Bail is the pretrial release of a person upon specific conditions set by a judicial officer. Most use a bail bondsman to affect release from jail, usually using a 10% payment and a co-signer to secure the bond. This ten percent down-payment is never recovered, and if the defendant does not appear for trial, the bail bondsman AND the individual guarantor are liable to the Court for the remainder—unless they can produce the defendant.
Bond is the actual payment of a specific sum as ordered by a judicial officer to the Court itself to ensure that the defendant is compliant with the terms of bail. This amount in full is returned to the individual guarantor after the defendant successfully appears and completes the trial. If the defendant does not appear, the bond money is lost and becomes property of the Commonwealth.
There are also three different types of Bond in Virginia: Personal Recognizance, Unsecured Bond and Secured Bond.
Personal Recognizance and Unsecured Bonds are very similar – neither requires the posting of any money up front. Personal Recognizance basically means you are told your court date and then released. An Unsecured Bond is a promise that you will pay a certain amount if you do not follow the conditions of your bail, but you are not required to pay this amount, or any percentage, upfront.
Secured Bonds are the ones that most people think of when they hear the word “bond.” It is a requirement that some money is posted so the defendant may be released. In some cases, no bond will be set and it will be up to an attorney to file a bond motion. If the bond is granted, a bail bondsman can be a tremendous asset and can usually secure a quick release by paying only 10% of the actual bond.
If you, or someone you know, is facing charges where a bond may be needed, it is very important that you contact experienced criminal attorney. We are here to answer any questions you may have. Please contact us at 757-656-1000 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. In these cases, time is of the essence.