Becoming A Responsible Homeowner

Three Things You Need To Know About Federal Bail Bonds

While bail bonds for federal cases are generally handled the same way as bonds for state cases, there are some key differences between the two. Here are three things you must know about federal bail bonds to ensure you are properly prepared to post bail for yourself or your loved one.

Funds Must Be Verified

If the case involves drug trafficking, embezzlement, monetary theft, or any crime where the defendant acquired cash (or had the potential to), the federal judge will typically order a Nebbia hold. The government forbids defendants from using money obtained from their crimes to pay for their bonds. Therefore, the judge will require whoever posts bail to prove the money came from a legitimate source (e.g. savings account).

Depending on who posts the bail, the judge, and the circumstances of the case, this proof may be submitted to the court in writing or there may be a whole separate hearing to determine the source of the funds. If the court can't verify the money to post bail is legitimate, it will not be accepted.

Be aware that even if you borrow the money from someone to post bail, you may be required to prove you repaid it with clean cash. Thus, be prepared by gathering any documentation needed to verify the source of your funds.

Bail is Typically Set Higher

Another difference between state and federal bail bonds is federal bail typically costs more in two ways. First, bail is usually set higher. That's because the crimes prosecuted by federal courts tend to be more severe. Additionally, people charged with federal crimes are more likely to be a flight risk. Therefore, the courts set bail higher as a way of keeping potentially unreliable defendants in jail.

Second, bail bond companies are allowed to charge higher fees because of the increased complexity associated with handling federal bonds and risk of covering defendants charged with federal crimes. Generally, bail companies only charge up to 10 percent of the set bail amount (it varies from state to state). However, those same companies may charge up to 15 percent to cover federal bonds.

Remember, when you contract with a bail bond company, the fee you pay it is non-refundable. Since federal bonds may be tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars, coming up with a small portion may be the only affordable way to get yourself or your loved one out of jail, though.

Collateral is Almost Always Required

Because of the aforementioned risks, bail bond companies will typically require you to put up collateral for a federal bond. So if the defendant fails to show up to court or doesn't fulfill the requirements of his or her release resulting in the company having the bond money it put up for the defendant forfeited, it can sell the collateral to recoup some of its losses.

You can use any type of collateral to secure the bond, as long as it covers the value of the bail set by the court. You can use your home if you have enough equity in it, for instance (e.g. $100,000 equity to cover $75,000 bond). Automobiles, jewelry, and recreational vehicles are other types of collateral that may be accepted if they have enough resale value.

Be aware, though, there is the possibility you will lose these items if you (or your loved one) doesn't fulfill the obligation set by the court. Therefore, don't pledge anything you want to keep.

For more information about how to obtain bail bonds or to ensure you understand collateral, visit a site like and consider talking with a lawyer.