Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

From its substantial experience, Nationwide Bail Bonds understands that the criminal court system is both complicated and confusing for defendants and their loved ones and associates, especially those encountering it for the first time under circumstances that can bring stress and concern. We have developed this list of Frequently Asked Questions as a service to our clients and their associates so that they may approach this complex process with a foundation of understanding.

The truth about bail bonds

What is a bail bond?

A bail bond is a financial guarantee that a criminal defendant will appear in court on all dates required by the state until their case is adjudicated. The amount of bond is the sum the Co-signer is financially responsible for, plus interest and other costs in situations where they apply.

What are the Co-signer’s responsibilities? (The Co-signer is also known as the Indemnitor)

The Co-signer/Indemnitoris the person who guarantees that the defendant will appear in court on all of their court dates and will comply with the sentence the court eventually assigns.If the defendant fails to appear in court, the Co-signer is responsible for the bail. The Co-signer is also required to ensure that the defendant appears at the Nationwide Bail Bonds office within a week of being released from custody.

How does bail work in New York City Criminal Court?

When a person is arrested, a Judge decides either to release them or to set bail and hold them in custody. If the Judge assigns bail, the defendant’s Co-signer/Indemnitor can either put up the full amount of cash or contact a bail bonds agent such as Nationwide Bail Bonds at 212-608-7900.

How does bail work on the weekend?

court columnsSince every bail bond that is posted in New York State first needs to be approved by a Judge, the court generally prefers to have bonds presented to the Judge that is presiding over the case. The Judge that is hearing the case generally will not be in court on the weekend. Put simply, if the defendant was arrested or arraigned over a weekend, the bond will be posted on the following Monday instead of on a Saturday or Sunday. Exceptions are often made, though, and Nationwide Bail Bonds prides itself on providing this unique and delicate negotiation service on behalf of its clients.

How much does a bail bond cost?

The price of the bail bond to the Co-signer is a premium of between 6 and 10 percent of the bond amount. There is a minimum premium on smaller bonds. The rates are set by the State of New York and are non-negotiable.If the Judge sets the bond at $100,000, for example, the Co-signer who is purchasing the bail bond will pay a total sum of $6,260.

What is the difference between premium and collateral?

The premium is the fee for the bond, while the collateral is the tangible, financial entity that partially secures the bond in the event that the defendant misses their court date or does not comply with the bail bond office requirements. A hard asset with tangible value, an example of collateral would be a car or a home secured by either a lien or a confession of Judgment, or marketable securities, a business, or some amount of other financial assets.In some cases, the Co-signer earns a significantly high income and has very good credit. In this case, the collateral will be waived.

Will I receive the premium back later?

The premium is not refundable.

Will I receive the collateral back later?

Potentially. The collateral will be returned as long as the defendant and Co-signer/Indemnitor comply with all of the court’s requirements as well as those of Nationwide Bail Bond Agency, Inc. Put more simply, the defendant must appear at all of their court dates until the case is completely resolved in order for the collateral to be returned, either partially or in its entirety.

How do I receive the collateral back?

Once the case is completely resolved, you go to the courthouse to request a bail exoneration form.The completed form (the original document with the court’s raised seal) must be presented at Nationwide Bail Bond Agency, Inc.’s office. With advanced notice, the reimbursement check can be issued the same day.

What is a 72-hour surety?

A 72-hour surety is also known as a 48-hour surety or a surety hold.  The surety, which is imposed by the Judge, requires that the district attorney verify the source of the funds for the bail. To determine proof of payment of the bond, the district attorney requires one year of bank statements and pay stubs for the Co-signer.

What can I use as collateral for a bond?

  • Real Estate
  • Credit Cards
  • Stocks & Bonds (non-retirement)
  • Personal Credit
  • Bank Accounts
  • Businesses
  • Certificates of Deposit
  • Passbooks

What do I need to know before I contact Nationwide Bail Bond Agency, Inc.?

You should know where the defendant is currently in custody (City and State), the name that they were booked under, their book or case number, and their date of birth. If you do not know the defendant’s date of birth, we ask that you know the year they were born. You should also know the amount of the defendant’s bail because if the defendant has been arrested recently, their information may not have been entered into the jail’s or the court’s databases. The amount of the bail is the basis of an accurate quote.

Can I leave the state while out on bail?

This is a frequently asked question. We suggest that you obtain written permission from your bail bonding office and check with the Court.  If both the Court and the bail bonding office allow you to travel, you may do so.

How long does it take for a defendant to get released from custody?

Since the bail bondsman needs to appear before a Judge to have the bond approved and subsequently arrange for the paper work to be served on the detention center, the release time varies. The day of the week and time of day the bond is posted also influences the timing of the release. Every defendant is released within one day of the bail being posted. Generally this waiting period does not exceed four hours.

What are the responsibilities of the defendant?

The defendant must appear at Nationwide’s office within a week of getting released from jail to complete paper work and be photographed for our records. This process usually requires about five minutes and demonstrates the defendant’s intention to comply with the terms of the bond, thus creating trust between the two parties.

What are the responsibilities of the Co-signer/Indemnitor?

You must make sure that the defendant appears at all of their court dates. You must make sure that the defendant appears at the Nationwide Bail Bond Agency office within a week of getting released from custody. You must notify Nationwide if your contact information changes or if the defendant’s contact information changes.

Who can serve as the Co-signer/Indemnitor?

Anyone. The Co-signer/Indemnitor is usually a good friend or relative.

Can Nationwide serve bail bonds throughout the U.S.?

Yes we can.Nationwide has direct access to over 10,000 bail agents in various states throughout the U.S.A bond can be secured in New York for a loved one several states away.

What do I do if I think the defendant is not going to show up in court?

You should not help them. Contact a bail bond specialist such as Nationwide Bail Bond Agency, Inc. A prospective Co-signer/Indemnitor must consider their own needs above all others, and factoring into that consideration is the question of whether or not you want to owe the court the amount of the bond.

What happens if the defendant is rearrested while out on bond?

Nothing happens to the bond unless it is a Federal Case. Federal Cases must be reviewed on an individual basis in order for a bail bonds office such as Nationwide to investigate what will happen with the bond. In State Court, the bond will not be affected. Once the defendant is back in custody, you must decide whether or not to revoke the bond, which means to withdraw monetary support for the bond.

How did the bail bond system get started in the U.S.?

Bail is as old as civilization. The U.S. Bail Bond System is based off of English Common Law.  The Commercial Bail Bond Industry has evolved over time to work in the way it does today. Section 9 of Virginia’s 1776 Constitution states “excessive bail ought not to be required…” In 1785, the following was added, “Those shall be let to bail who are apprehended for any crime not punishable in life or limb…But if a crime be punishable by life or limb, or if it be manslaughter and there be good cause to believe the party guilty thereof, he shall not be admitted to bail.” Section 29 of the Pennsylvania Constitution of 1776 states that “Excessive bail shall not be exacted for bailable offences: And all fines shall be moderate.”

The prohibition against excessive bail in the Eighth Amendment is derived from the Virginia Constitution, on which Samuel Livermore commented, “The clause seems to have no meaning to it, I do not think it necessary. What is meant by the term excessive bail…?” As of 2009, the Supreme Court has not decided whether the constitutional prohibition on excessive bail applies to the States through the Fourteenth Amendment.

The Sixth Amendment to the Constitution, like the English Habeas Corpus Act of 1679, requires that a suspect must “be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation” and thus enabling a suspect to demand bail if accused of a bailable offense.

In 1789, the same year that the United States Bill of Rights was introduced, Congress passed the Judiciary Act of 1789. This specified which types of crimes were bailable and set bounds on a judge’s discretion in setting bail. The Act states that all non-capital crimes are bailable and that in capital cases the decision to detain a suspect, prior to trial, was to be left to the judge.

The Judiciary Act states, “Upon all arrests in criminal cases, bail shall be admitted, except where punishment may be by death, in which cases it shall not be admitted but by the supreme or a circuit court, or by a justice of the supreme court, or a judge of a district court, who shall exercise their discretion therein.”

What are the dangers of posting cash with the City?

Anytime someone travels with a large amount of cash, they become a target of criminals with sometimes violent tendencies.  A bond is a financial instrument (promise of payment) issued in connection with an insurance company. Nationwide Bail Bonds, a licensed bail bondsman, does not put up cash. The article below is a must-read.

What happens if the person is convicted?

As long as the defendant complies with the sentence, the bond remains intact.If the defendant is sentenced to jail and does not surrender, the bond is forfeited and you will owe money to the Court.

What sets Nationwide Bail Bond Agency, Inc. Apart from its competitors?

Professionalism, reliability, discretion, and reputation, all of it the result of hands-on experience in providing this essential service to our clients in their hour of need.

A final note

There are no lessons learned in jail. Rikers Island has a reputation for a reason. Let us help you reunite with your loved one.