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Do you have bail bond questions?

This information is meant to provide you with basic information only. Every case is different and some are very complicated. If you are interested in posting bond, please call A-Affordable Bail Bonds at (866) 554-2245. If you need more information or legal advice, please contact your attorney.

If you have questions about bail bond agents, you can contact the Idaho Department of Insurance at (208) 334-4321 or on their website http://www.doi.idaho.gov/.

What is bail or what is a bond? What is a bail bond?

Bail or bond (in this case, bail and bond mean the same thing) is an amount of money in cash or in the form of a surety bond for the purpose of making sure that a person attends all required court appearances relating to a court case. Bond allows an arrested person (defendant) to be released from jail until his or her case is completed. There are two basic types of bail or bond: 1) a cash bond, posted with the court or jail, or 2) a surety bond, posted through a surety bail bond company such as A-Affordable Bail Bonds.

Who can post bond?

Any person can post his or her own cash bond with the court or jail. If the defendant can’t afford to bond him or herself out of jail, any other person over the age of 18 can post the cash bond. If a defendant chooses to pursue a surety bail bond instead of a cash bond, most surety bail companies, like A-Affordable Bail Bonds, require a cosigner who is at least 18 years of age to sign the bail documents. Because of the differences in bond amounts and the uniqueness of circumstances, the criteria to qualify as a cosigner for a bond can vary bond to bond and bail company to bail company.

If I bond someone out of jail, when will I get my money back?

If you post a cash bond, you might get some of or your entire cash bond back, but it won’t be until the case is finished. Additionally, monies from a cash bond may be applied to court costs and fines for the defendant before any remainder is returned to you. The law allows the court to use the cash bond to pay fines in this way. If you post a surety bond through a bail bond company like A-Affordable Bail Bonds, you will not get the premium, agent fee or sheriff’s fee back. Those are fully earned upon the posting of the bail. If you put up collateral, as long as the defendant makes all of his/her court appearances you will receive it back when the defendant is found innocent, guilty, or the case is dismissed by the court and the bond is exonerated.

What is a Jail/Sheriff’s Fee?

Most jails or sheriff’s departments in the state of Idaho charge a processing fee on bonds, often referred to as a jail fee or sheriff’s fee. They vary county to county, with some charging no fee and others charging up to $25 per bond. Most Sheriff’s departments in Idaho charge $10 per bond. This fee goes to the jail and not the bond company. For your convenience, most bond companies will include this fee with the price of the bond but always be sure to check in order to avoid unforeseen costs.

Surety Bonds
What is a bail bondsman?

A bail bondsman, bondsperson, bail agent, and bond agent are all names used for a person who is licensed by the Idaho Department of Insurance to sell surety bonds and is authorized to conduct business in the State of Idaho. He or she is an agent for an insurance company that sells surety bonds.

What is a surety bond?

A surety bond is an agreement made between a person and a bondsman. The bondsman agrees to post the necessary bond so the defendant can be released from jail. This agreement is backed by an insurance company contract signed by the person and the bondsman on behalf of the insurance company. There has to be enough cash or collateral to cover the full amount of the bond in case the defendant misses his or her court date. Only a person who has been licensed by the Idaho Department of Insurance may post a surety bond.

Why would I hire a bondsman?

If you don’t have the cash to cover the full bond amount and sheriff’s fee, you may wish to hire a bondsman to bond yourself or someone else out of jail. A surety bail bond through a bail bond company like A-Affordable Bail Bonds typically costs 10 percent of the total bond amount, plus any additional fees. This can vary company to company, however. A-Affordable Bail Bonds is also authorized to provide a discounted rate of eight percent for active military, union members, and clients who have hired a private attorney to represent them. Also, as mentioned above, sometimes the court keeps a cash bond in part or in full to cover a defendant’s court fines and fees. If you are bonding someone out of jail and you don’t want to take the chance that all or part of your cash will be used to pay the defendant’s court fines, fees and restitution, you might want to hire a bail bondsman.

How much does a surety bond cost?

A surety bond will cost you a 10 percent of the bond amount, an agent’s fee, and a sheriff’s fee. You will not get any of these fees back because they are nonrefundable regardless of the guilt or innocence of the defendant and are fully earned upon the posting of the bond.

How do I post a surety bond?

Call A-Affordable Bail Bonds toll free at (866) 554-2245 and we would be happy to assist you with the bonding process. We post bonds in every county throughout the state of Idaho, whether we have a physical office location there or not, as many of our independent bail agents work from home and travel in order to serve clients in nearby areas. Typically, there is a short process to clearing an individual as a cosigner, followed by dispatching an agent to post the bond at the jail and fill out some paperwork with the defendant and cosigner. With advances in technology, we are also able to complete bonds via phone, fax, or email in many cases and we would be happy to discuss those options with you. You can also reach us through any of our local numbers for our local offices throughout the state of Idaho:

Boise (208) 377-8855
Coeur d’Alene (208) 667-7992
Idaho Falls (208) 522-4222
Nampa (208) 459-7077
Payette (208) 642-0766
Pocatello (208) 236-6566
Twin Falls (208) 734-0068
Gooding (208) 934-5440
Blackfoot (208) 785-0024
Rexburg (208) 356- 3455
Soda Springs (208) 547-4042
Hailey (208) 788-0808
Moscow (208) 882-6555
If I’m a cosigner, what will I have to do?

As a cosigner, you are responsible for ensuring that the defendant attends all court dates relating to the case. If the defendant misses a court date, you will be expected to help the bondsman find the defendant and get them back into court right away. If the bondsman has to search for or arrest the defendant in order to get him or her back into court, the cosigner must pay the bondsman’s expenses for finding the defendant. If the cosigner and bondsman are unable to find the defendant and return him or her to the court within a set amount of time, the cosigner must pay the full amount of the bond in addition to any costs associated with searching for the defendant, as noted above.

Before signing any contracts or promissory notes, make sure you read through them carefully and be sure that you understand them. Ask the bail agent or company, like A-Affordable Bail Bonds, if you have any questions prior to signing these types of documents. Always get copies of all documents you sign at the time you sign them. In the state of Idaho, all bail bond companies are required by state law to supply copies of these documents to the defendant and all cosigners on a bond.

Cash Bonds
What is a cash bond?

A cash bond is the full amount of the bond required, paid in cash to the court or jail, to release a defendant from jail. In most cases, a cash bond can be posted at the courthouse during business hours, or at the jail after hours with an additional sheriff’s fee or jail fee.

How much does cash bond cost?

A cash bond costs the full amount of the bond, and a non-refundable sheriff’s fee in many cases.

How do I post a cash bond?

For instructions on how to post a cash bond, call your local sheriff’s office. If you need help with this process, please call A-Affordable Bail Bonds. We would be happy to walk you through the process. Note: You do not need to pay a bail bond agent to post a cash bond for you because you can post a cash bond by yourself.

Can I change my mind after I post a cash bond for someone?

You may have the defendant turn him or herself into jail any time before the defendant misses a court date. If the defendant is returned to the jail, you will need to get the required paperwork from court personnel at your local courthouse. Fill out the paperwork and return it to the court and a deputy clerk will give it to the judge for approval. Once approved, it will usually take about two weeks for the money to be mailed to you.

If I post a cash bond, will I get my money back?

Maybe. If the defendant attends all court appearances and either pleads guilty or is found guilty, by Idaho law, I.C. 19-2923, a cash bond can be used to pay fines and court costs: “…when the money has been deposited, if it remains on deposit at the time of the judgment for the payment of a fine, the clerk must, under the direction of the court, apply the money in satisfaction thereof, and after satisfying the fine and costs, must refund the surplus, if any, to the party posting the deposit.”

If you are using your money to post a cash bond for the defendant, please tell the jail your name and address. If you are using the defendant’s own money to post the cash bond, tell the jailer that the bond money should be receipted in the defendant’s name. The bond receipt should be made for the person whose money is being used for the cash bond. If there is any money left after deductions from court fines or fees noted above are taken, it will be returned to the person whose name is on the bond receipt. If the defendant attends all court appearances and the charges are dismissed or dropped, the person whose name is on the cash bond receipt will receive the refund of the cash bond. It takes about two weeks for the refund to be mailed to the person who posted the cash bond.

What happens if the defendant misses court?

Once a defendant misses court, the judge will issue warrant for the defendant’s arrest, and the bond will be forfeited (defaulted).

If you posted a cash bond for the defendant, there are only two ways you can get your money back:
1) You must find the defendant and turn him or her back to the jail within 180 days of the bench warrant or
2) If the defendant is arrested and put back in jail within 180 days of the warrant, you can request your cash bond back.

If either of these happens, you can then go to the courthouse and ask for the “Request for Exoneration and Return of Cash Bail, Certificate of Surrender, and Order for Exoneration and Return of Cash Bail”. Fill out the paperwork and give it to the court. The judge will review it and if approved, the cash bond will be mailed back to you. If the defendant isn’t found or arrested within 180 days, the Court will keep your entire cash bond.

If you posted a surety bond through a bail bond company like A-Affordable Bail Bonds, the cosigner on the bond must work with the bail bond company to return the defendant. This must occur within 180 days, or the cosigner is held responsible for the full amount of the bond as well as any costs associated with searching for the defendant.

Property Bonds
How do I post a property bond?

Because using your property as bond is a complicated process, please call your attorney for advice or instruction.

Additional Information
What if I can’t afford to lose the money I used to bond someone out of jail?

Never bond someone out of jail if you cannot afford to lose that money or if you can’t afford to wait for several months to get it back. Remember, even if the defendant makes all court appearances, the court can use the cash bond to pay fines and fees. In the world of bonding people out of jail, there are no guarantees.

Do not let anyone force or bully you into posting a bond. Whether or not you cosign or bond someone out is a personal choice. If the defendant fails to appear in court, the financial consequences can be very serious.

If the defendant is pressuring you, do not accept their calls. If they become abusive or make threats on the phone or otherwise, report this to the jail staff.

If a surety bail bond company such as A-Affordable Bail Bonds calls you and you are not interested in cosigning on a bond, simply tell them you are not interested in posting bail and ask them not to call again. If the bond company harasses you, bullies you, or guilt trips you to get you to post the bond, please report this to the jail and contact the Idaho Department of Insurance.