Becoming A Responsible Homeowner

What To Know About Bail Bond Property Liens

If a loved one needs help to get out of jail, you might be asked to arrange for bail. In most cases, you must use a bail bonding agent due to the high cost of paying the full bail. Bail bonds can be had for a small percentage of the bail required by the court, but in some cases, you must supplement that premium with more. Read on to find out more about what it means to put a home up as collateral for a bail bond.

What Are Bail and Bail Bonds?

Not all situations will call for collateral, but to understand why it's needed, it might be helpful to understand what bail and bail bonds are meant to do. Bail is required by the court as a monetary payment that backs up a promise to come back and face criminal charges later. Bail is often set at very high dollar amounts, making it out of reach for many that want to help their loved one get out of jail. As an alternative, bail bonding agencies offer you an opportunity to have your loved one released at a far lower price point. Bail bonds are usually available at fraction of the full cost of the bail. You pay the bonding agent the reduced fee, and they get your loved one out of jail. The bonding agency, in turn, promises the court that your loved one will return to court. If your loved one fails to do so, the bonding agency might be required to pay the full bail amount charged by the court.

Why Is Collateral Required?

The bail bonding agency judges each bonding situation using several factors before they will work with you. They must have some assurance that your loved one will comply with the bail requirements, particularly the need to appear for all hearings. In some cases, the bail premium (the amount you pay the bonding agent) is not enough since they have no assurance of compliance. In those cases, you must provide the bonding agency with collateral. The collateral can come from several sources, including the equity in a home.

Bail Bond Liens

When you use your home as collateral, you must provide proof of ownership by showing the deed. The bail bond agency, if the collateral is acceptable, places a lien on the property in question. A lien means that the property is "frozen" and cannot be sold or refinanced. Once your loved one's case is completely resolved, the lien is lifted and your property is free and clear again. If they fail to appear, however, you must either pay the full amount of the bail and any accompanying fees or relinquish the property. In most cases, your loved one complies with all bail conditions and your collateral is returned to you. To learn more about collateral and bail bonds, speak to a local bail bondsman.