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How Bail Works In Alabama

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Q: What is bail?

A: Bail refers to the cash or bond provided to guarantee the defendant’s appearance in court, in return for the defendant’s release until the court date(s). By posting bail, bail bondsmen ensure a defendant’s constitutional right to remain free from custody pending trial.

Q: What are the types of bail bonds?

A: The main types include:

  1. Personal recognizance (PR) bond – A release from custody based on a promise to appear in court. A defendant pays no money and is released from jail based on their personal responsibility to return. A personal recognizance bond is sometimes coupled with a cash bond.

  2. Surety bond – A contract with a bail agent for the bail amount. A surety (insurance) company underwrites the bond in exchange for payment of a premium percentage of the bail’s full amount. Some form of collateral secures the remaining bond amount.

  3. Cash bond – The full amount of bail posted by the defendant in cash.

  4. Federal bond – A bond for cases that deal with federal offenses (such interstate crimes).

  5. Immigration bond – A bond set for someone held by the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service™ (such as an immigration violation).

Q: What documents will I need for a bail bond?

A: In many cases, you may be required to provide proof of identity, residence, and income when applying for a bond.

Required documents may include:

• Driver’s license or identification card • Social Security card • Pay stub

Some Tips on Bail Bonding Agents and or Bail Agencies.

  1. Make sure you only deal with a licensed bail agent. Ask to see the bail agent’s license and identification prior to any bail transaction.
  2. Make sure the bail agent charges you only legal rates not to exceed 15% or $50 minimum per bond plus bonding, booking, and filing fees required by the court and or detention facility. Any additional charges should be itemized and explained to your satisfaction.
  3. Make sure you are given itemized receipts for all charges.
  4. Make sure you are given copies of all signed contracts and agreements.
  5. If financing is provided, make sure you understand the terms of the financing agreement prior to signing and be sure you are given copies of anything you sign.
  6. Make sure the bail agent you contract with will be available to you after the bail bond has been posted. Part of what you pay for is service. Any professional bail agent or bail agency will be available for questions or concerns throughout the entire process.