How Bail Bonds & Bail Bond Agents Work in Brooklyn
How Bail Bonds & Bail Bond Agents Work in Brooklyn
Getting arrested and having to post bail can be an incredibly stressful and confusing situation. As a Brooklyn resident, it’s important to understand the bail system and your options when it comes to posting bail after an arrest. This article provides an overview of bail bonds, how they work, and the role of bail bond agents in Brooklyn.
What is Bail and How Does it Work?
Bail is money or property that is deposited with the court to secure the release of a defendant from jail while their criminal case is pending. Judges set bail amounts based on the severity of the charges and the defendant’s flight risk and criminal history. Defendants can pay the full bail amount themselves, or use a bail bond agent to post a bond for a percentage of the full amount (usually 10-15%).If the defendant attends all required court appearances, the bail money is returned at the end of the case. But if they miss a court date or violate any conditions of their release, the court keeps the bail money. Bail bondsmen may also revoke bonds and send defendants back to jail if they violate release conditions.
Bail Bond Agents and Bail Bonds in Brooklyn
Bail bond agents, also called bail bondsmen, are licensed professionals who specialize in posting bail bonds on behalf of defendants who can’t afford to pay the full bail amount themselves. They act as sureties who promise to pay the full bail if the defendant fails to appear.
There are over 100 licensed bail bond agents and agencies in Brooklyn. Most bail bondsmen charge a nonrefundable fee of 10-15% of the total bail amount. Defendants also usually need to provide collateral worth the full bail amount.
For example, if a judge sets bail at $10,000, a bondsman would charge $1,000-$1,500 as the premium fee. The defendant would pay that smaller amount plus provide collateral equal to the $10,000 bail. The bondsman then posts a $10,000 surety bond promising to pay the full amount if the defendant doesn’t show up to court.
Reputable bail bond agents in Brooklyn will clearly explain fees, collateral policies, and legal rights regarding bail revocation and surrendering defendants who violate release conditions. They should also maintain proper licensing and insurance.
How Do Bail Bonds Work in Brooklyn Criminal Cases?
The bail bond process involves several steps after an arrest in Brooklyn:
- Arraignment: Defendants appear before a judge within 24 hours and are formally charged. The judge considers factors like flight risk, public safety, and case severity when setting bail amounts.
- Hiring a bail bond agent: If bail is set beyond what defendants can pay, they or family members contact bail bond agents in Brooklyn to discuss posting a bond.
- Posting collateral & paying fees: Bondsmen collect their premium fee payment, usually 10-15% of the total bail amount. They also require collateral equal to the bail amount. Collateral can include property deeds, bank accounts, or loans from friends and family.
- Filing the bail bond: The bail agent posts a surety bond with the court, promising to pay the full bail amount if the defendant fails to appear. This allows the release of defendants from jail.
- Appearing in court: As part of the bail agreement, defendants must attend all court hearings, meetings with prosecutors, and other required appointments. Missing court dates or violating release conditions could lead bondsmen to revoke bonds.
- End of the case: Once the criminal case concludes by dismissal, plea deal, or trial verdict, the bail money and collateral are released back to the payer, minus the bondsman’s fees.
Bail bonds are complicated financial and legal agreements with serious implications. Brooklyn residents should fully understand how bail works when facing criminal charges. Reputable bail bond agents clearly explain all policies and fees in simple terms.
Finding a Bail Bondsman in Brooklyn
Those needing a bail bondsman in Kings County should research agents’ credentials, fees, and policies. Look for:
- Licensing: Agents must be licensed by the New York State Department of Financial Services. Check license status here.
- Experience: Choose an established agent who has helped people in Brooklyn courts for many years. Look for 5+ years of experience.
- Clear fee explanation: Reputable bondsmen will clearly explain all premium fees, collateral policies, and payment plan options. Get fee details in writing.
- Flexible collateral options: The best Brooklyn bail bond agents work with defendants to accept various types of collateral beyond solely property deeds and cash.
- Strong relationships with courts & lawyers: Experienced bondsmen develop working relationships with court clerks, judges, and lawyers over many years. These connections can help smooth the bonding-out process.
Also check online reviews and talk to people in your community who have used a bail bondsman before. While needing a bond agent is stressful, finding the right one provides important legal support.
The Bail Bond Revocation Process
A major risk of posting a bail bond is the possibility of revocation and being sent back to jail. Bail agreements require that defendants meet all release conditions and attend required court dates. If someone on bond misses a court appearance or violates a condition like staying sober or obeying protection orders, the court will revoke bail and issue a bench warrant.
The bail bond agent is then financially liable for the full bail amount they previously promised the court. So bondsmen take revocations very seriously to avoid losing that money.
In Brooklyn, there is a specific bail bond revocation process that occurs if someone violates release conditions:
- Bond revocation: The court revokes the bail bond and orders the re-arrest of the defendant. Police issue a bench warrant for breaking the bail agreement.
- Surrender & re-arrest: The bail bondsman is allowed to legally surrender the defendant back into police custody within a certain timeframe (usually 6 months in New York). Bondsmen may hire bounty hunters to track down and capture defendants.
- Jail & new court hearing: After surrender or police arrest, defendants are jailed and must appear at a new court hearing. Judges decide whether to set a new bail amount or detain defendants without bail options.
- Bond forfeiture: If bondsmen fail to surrender defendants in time, the court can order bond forfeiture. This means the bail agent must immediately pay the full original bail amount, as they promised in the original surety bond agreement.
Clearly, it’s incredibly risky to have an active warrant or miss a court date while out on bond. Bail bond revocation leads to being jailed again and more legal troubles. Brooklyn bail bondsmen advise avoiding revocation at all costs.
Using Bail Bonds for a Brooklyn DUI Case
DUI cases involve some unique considerations regarding bail bonds in Brooklyn. Judges tend to set higher bails for DUI arrests compared to other misdemeanors, considering public safety factors. And new laws have made it harder for repeat DUI offenders to get bonded out.
Here’s an overview of how bail and bail bonds work for Brooklyn DUI cases:
- First-time misdemeanor DUI bail is often set between $500 – $5,000, depending on blood alcohol content levels and whether there was an accident. Judges can set bail up to $10,000 for first offenses.
- Under Leandra’s Law in New York, bail is prohibited for DUI defendants with previous DUI convictions in the past 10 years or those charged with DUI with a child passenger 15 or younger.
- Felony DUI charges trigger much higher bail, frequently from $10,000 – $50,000+. Many serious DUI cases require bond agents able to post bonds for $20,000 or more.
- DUIs involving accidents with injuries/fatalities often have bail set at $100,000 – $500,000. These cases need experienced bondsmen able to post six- and even seven-figure bond amounts.
- Collateral requirements may be higher for Brooklyn DUI bonds to offset the increased flight-from-prosecution risk compared to other misdemeanors. Expect to put up collateral worth the full bail amount.
- Any previous failures to appear in court or probation violations will count against DUI defendants during bail consideration, even for first offenses. Judges see missed court as ignoring public safety.
The complexities of DUI bail in Brooklyn underscore the importance of working with an experienced bondsman from your first court appearance onwards. Reputable agents help clients and families understand the system, secure prompt release from jail, and emphasize avoiding bond revocation by strictly following all conditions.
Getting arrested and posting bond in Brooklyn can be daunting. But understanding the bail system and working with professional bail bond agents helps ensure the best legal outcome. Agents act as guides through the complex bail process while allowing defendants pretrial release.
Those needing bail bonds in Kings County can protect their rights by finding reputable bail agents willing to answer all questions. The best Brooklyn bondsmen have financing options for higher bond amounts, take reasonable collateral, and develop strong court relationships. They work hard to help clients resolve cases without needing to actually pay out bail money to the court.
Posting bond is never anyone’s first choice. But gaining pretrial release allows Brooklyn defendants to keep working and providing for loved ones while fighting charges. Bail bonds provide an avenue back to regular life after an arrest. So don’t hesitate to exercise bail rights and contact reputable bail agents for personalized legal guidance.