What happens after a person is arrested?
When the arresting law enforcement agency takes the defendant into custody, a number of things can happen. Most commonly:
- The defendant is released. No charges filed.
- The defendant is released on his/her own recognizance. (O.R.)
- The defendant is release on a bail bond.
- The defendant remains in custody (jail) until his/her arraignment before the court.
What does a bail agent do?
A bail agent arranges for the release from jail of criminal defendants accused of a crime by guaranteeing the court that the defendant will appear for each and every court date required by the court. If the defendant does not appear, it is the bail agent’s responsibility to get the defendant back in court and if they cannot return them to court, then they must locate the defendant and rearrest them and return them to jail. If the bail agent fails to do one of those, then the bail agent must pay the full face amount of the bond.
A bail agent is licensed to transact all aspects of bail required to have a defendant released from jail or court custody through the use of a surety bond. The agent is licensed by the state and is required to pass and exam, as well as a thorough background investigation. The law strictly prohibits any bail agent from giving legal advice.
Do I have to use a bail agent to get someone out of jail? What are my options?
No, while most state have similar laws, you should call and discuss your situation with one of our trained underwriters. Some of the options available are:
- Pay the full cash bail directly to the court in the form of cash, cashier's check or money order.
- Pay the full cash bail in the form of funds from the US Treasury.
- Accommodation can sometimes be made through the court to use real property as collateral. The laws vary and can be very specific as to how this is negotiated. You should consult with your attorney or the court clerk for more details.
- Post a bail bond. This is also referred to as a Post a bail bond. This is also referred to as a "surety bond". This can only be accomplished through a licensed bail bond company such as Mississippi Bonding Company. Always ask to see identification from anyone who claims to be a bail agent.
What happens after the defendant is released on bail?
- Arraignment. The arraignment is usually the first court appearance. It is a good idea to bring an attorney if he or she has one. The defendant will be asked to enter a plea.
- Plea. The defendant will be given three options for a plea. A) Guilty, B) Not Guilty, C) No Contest (nolo contendre) A plea of No Contest is the same as a guilty plea, but the defendant does not admit civil liability, The defendant should never enter any plea without speaking with an attorney first.
- Multiple Appearances. After the arraignment, the defendant will be given another appearance date. Please make sure that the defendant makes all appearances. The defendant should consult with an attorney. It is better to have an attorney who practices criminal law.
Do I need an attorney?
In any criminal matter, the defendant should consult with a defense attorney regarding his or her rights. Many attorneys offer a free consultation. While some attorneys require large upfront retainers, other attorneys will allow you to make arrangements to pay over time. Your bail agent is not allowed to offer legal advice.
What about the public defender?
At the first court appearance (arraignment), the defendant will be asked if he or she can afford an attorney. If the person says no, a public defender will be appointed before the hearing. While there are many good attorneys who are public defenders, it is important to remember they are very overworked and underpaid. The one question you should ask yourself before using a public defender should be “are you willing to trust your freedom to a ‘free’ attorney?”
When is the court date?
The appearance date may not have been available at the time you met with your bail agent. The defendant will be given appearance information upon release. If there are questions about a court date, please call the agent who bonded you out or you can call 800-638-4088.
Will I get my money back?
When you deposit the entire amount of the bail with the jail or court, you are supposed to receive the entire amount back after the bail is no longer required or is "exonerated". However, most of the time the court will keep the money for fines or court costs. Rarely does a defendant or the person who actually posts the cash bail get any money back. If you use a bail bond, the money you paid as bail bond premium is nonrefundable.
What happen if the defendant is late for court or misses the court date?
THIS SHOULD BE AVOIDED. The court may look upon the defendants’ failure to appear as a willful act. If this happens, the court may issue a warrant and the defendant may be subject to arrest! Under some conditions, we may be able to contact the court and "reassume" the liability of the bond. If you know that the defendant is going to be late or delayed for court, call the court immediately. If you can't find the telephone number, call us at 800-638-4088, and we may be able to help locating the number for you.
When collateral is required to guarantee the bond, how do I get it back?
Most bonds through Mississippi Bonding Company require only a signature as collateral. If collateral is taken, a copy of the "exoneration" from the court is required to notify us that you are no longer responsible for the bond. Once we receive the exoneration, we can return your collateral. It is best to get a copy of the court records immediately after you finish in court. This can be obtained from the Clerk of the Court.
How long is a bond valid?
The bond is generally good as long as the case last. However, Mississippi has a three year statute of limitations on a bail bond. If your case is reaching the three year point and your attorney wants to continue, please contact our office so we can arrange to stay on your bond.
How is the bail "Premium" determined?
Bail Premium amounts in the State of Mississippi is established by law. Mississippi statute 83-39-25 provides that the bail premium shall be Ten Percent (10%) or One Hundred Dollars ($100.00) whichever is greater except on a bail bond written for a defendant who resides outside the state of Mississippi or who is charged with a capital offense and then the premium shall be Fifteen Percent (15%) or One Hundred Dollars ($100.00) whichever is greater. In addition to the premium a bail agent shall charge a processing fee of $50.00 per bond.
Can the defendant leave the area?
A defendant must notify the Court and the Bail Agent to obtain permission to leave the jurisdiction of the Court.
What happens if the person that I signed for does not appear in court?
By acting as the "indemnitor", you have agreed to be financially liable for the full amount of the bail. If the court declares that the bond is forfeited due to nonappearance, you are obligated to pay the full amount of the bail bond.
What if I no longer want to guarantee the bond?
Please contact the agent who wrote the bail bond or you can call 800-638-4088. Each situation is different and sometimes a clarification is all that is needed. Our agents and supervisors are trained to help with this or any other unforeseen situation. One answer could be to have the defendant find someone else equally qualified to sign in your place.
Am I criminally liable if someone I sign for does not appear in court?
No, your liability under our contract is strictly financial.
If the charges are dropped after the defendant is bail out, will we get the premium back?
Only if the charges are dropped before the person is released from jail. Once they are released, the bond is in effect and no premium will be refunded. Think of it like car insurance – if you buy car insurance and don’t wreck the car, you still don’t get the premium you paid back. Once the defendant walks out of the jail, no money will be returned.
Should the defendant or indemnitor notify anyone of a move or job change?
Yes, we must be able to contact all parties related to the bail contract at all times.
Is the money we paid for the bond premium refundable if the charges or case is dropped?
No. Mississippi Bonding Company provides the service of obtaining the release of your loved one from jail and guaranteeing that they will appear in court at the designated time and date. If the charges or case is dropped the bail bond becomes exonerated which completes the service.
How do I get to the jail? When should I go there?
Our agents are familiar with the location and release procedures for most jails. If you can't find the jail or court they can get you the address and directions. At some jails, it is required that someone be there to pick the defendant up before the bond is processed. The agent will guide you through the process. Please do not hesitate to ask questions. We’re here to help you.