If a judge has ordered bail to secure someone's return to the court before allowing their release, you may need to deal with a bondsman. A bail bondsman is a licensed professional who can post money to the court. This money allows an arrested person's release as long as that individual complies with the court's terms. Before you contact a bail bondsman, it's a good idea to learn what to expect.
Whenever you deal with a bond company, their firm is providing you with a loan. They put up the full amount for a person's release. You will then make payments for the full amount plus fees and interest. The arrested person can request the loan for the bond, or someone else can. The legal system doesn't care who puts it up.
Returning for Court Appearances
Courts order bail because they don't want to pay to jail people who are awaiting trial. However, the court wants the released person to have some incentive to return. This is because the judge will order additional hearings so the court can learn what happened. The person can then present a defense or plead guilty.
In the interim, the judge wants some assurance that the person will return. A court can revoke bail, and that puts pressure on the bondsman to make the individual appear in court. If necessary, a bond company will send someone to collect the person and compel their return for hearings. Otherwise, the bondsman is out of the money.
Notably, this means bond firms do an excellent job of reminding people of their court dates. If you're having trouble finding the court, for example, a bondsman will be happy to give you contact numbers and addresses so you can get there.
What Happens to the Bond?
Presuming you follow all of the court's terms, the court will return the bond money to the company. They can then refund or forgive the balance, or lessen fees and interest. A court will return the bond payment as long as the defendant complies with the terms to come back for hearings or have counsel present during them. Even if the defendant loses and goes to prison, compliance with the terms satisfies the bond requirements.
If a person decides to avoid going to court on their appointed dates, the bond company has the legal right to recover them. The company doesn't get its money back unless it can compel the person to appear so they have a strong incentive to do so.