What is a Bail Bond?
The purpose of bail is to guarantee the appearance in court of one arrested for a crime to determine guilt or innocence. The 8th Amendment to our United States Constitution guarantees this right to all citizens and prohibits excessive bail. The 5th Amendment provides for the "due process of law" for all, including the presumption of innocence until proven guilty. Failure to guarantee the right to bail would make any arrest and incarceration almost a finding of guilt.
Our state laws provide that one arrested may employ a professional bondsman to guarantee his appearance in court. The professional bondsmen or surety must pledge property, cash, or other surety, such as insurance, to the courts on behalf of the defendant or principal. For providing this service, "Sureties on criminal bonds in any court shall not charge or receive more than 15 percent of the principal amount of bonds sets in the amount of $10,000.00 or less and shall not charge or receive more than 15 percent of the principal amount of bonds set in an amount in excess of $10,000.00 as compensation or from anyone acting for defendants.
Professional Bondsmen Provide a Valuable Service!
The entire criminal justice system and indeed all law-abiding taxpayers benefit from the services provided by the professional bondsmen. While out on bail, the defendant can continue to contribute to the workforce and provide for family needs. The taxpayers of the state save millions of dollars annually in incarceration costs when defendants are released on a bond which substantially reduces the problems of jail overcrowding and the costly construction of additional jail space. Also, the professional bondsman provides a valuable service to the defendant in guiding him through the adjudication process and ensuring the principal's appearance in court.
The professional bondsmen foster our free enterprise system in that he is not compensated unless the defendant appears in court. In fact, the substantial surety can be forfeited if the principal does not appear. This privatization of bail also places the cost of administering the system on the user of the system - the defendant!
The Supreme Court of Georgia has noted the importance and value of the professional bondsman:
“By apprehending absconded criminals and delivering them to the State, bail bonding companies perform a valuable service for the State in as much as they relieve law enforcement officers from the duty, thereby permitting officers to direct their energies to other areas of law enforcement.”
(AAA Bonding Co. vs. State of Georgia)