Process Service and Bail Bonds
When it comes to reliable, fast, and dependable "Process Service" and "Bail Bonds" we Recommend
"Process Service" is the procedure by which a party to a lawsuit gives an appropriate notice of initial legal action to another party (such as a defendant), court, or administrative body in an effort to exercise jurisdiction over that person so as to enable that person to respond to the proceeding before the court, administrative body, or Tribunal. Notice is furnished by delivering a set of court documents(called "Process") to the person to be served.
Atlantic Bail Bonds makes both "Process Service" and the Bail Bond process easy. For Bail Bonds, they will come to you to write and arrange the bond. They can work with you to make a low down payment or a payment plan. They will inform you of the court dates and answer all questions about your obligations. They handle bonds throughout the Following Counties in The State of New Jersey:
To contact "Atlantic Bail Bonds" click the link below or call:
Frequently Asked Questions on Bail Bonds
BAIL BONDS EXPLAINED
What is a bail bond?
When an individual is incarcerated and accused of a crime he or she has a constitutional right to bail under the eighth amendment to the constitution as part of the bill of rights. Since anyone accused of a crime is presumed innocent until a judge or jury says otherwise, bail is not punitive in nature and has nothing to do with potential fines or penalties imposed if the charge results in a conviction.Bail is merely a way to aid the court in assuring the parties appearance in court to answer the charges against him or her. It is an essential part of the system and prevents the jails from being overcrowded with people awaiting their day in court on minor crimes. The amount of bail varies depending on the criminal charge and circumstances (risk of flight) and is often set by established guidelines subject to review by a judge at a later date.Bail is usually set at the time of arrest in all but the most serious crimes. An individual has the option to post his or her own bail at that time if they have the cash available to do so. This is preferable as the money will be returned by the court when the charges are addressed and adjudicated in court. Fines and penalties are a separate matter and so do not impact the bail money. Often people do not have the ready cash to cover their bail and so enters the Bail Bond.
Bail Bonds are posted by licensed bondsman on behalf of the defendant. A bond is an insurance certificate which guarantees the court the full amount of the bail in the event that the defendant fails to appear in court to face the charge(s) against him. The bondsman charges a fee for this known as a premium. The premium is generally in the neighborhood of 10% of the amount of the bail but may vary. Additionally some courts impose a filing fee in addition to the bail. This is a court fee and not part of the bail. In New Jersey for example, Superior Court matters generally require a $ 30 filing fee which the bondsman pays directly to the court at the time bail is posted. This is in addition to the bail premium charged to the defendant or his representative. For example, if you are incarcerated on an indictable offense (Superior Court) and bail is set at $ 5000. The bondsman would likely charge $ 500 + $ 30. $ 500 being the premium for the $ 5000 bond and $30 for the filing fee. In municipal court cases there is no filing fee so that cost is not passed along to the defendant or his cosigner.
What is a Cosigner?
In almost all cases a bail bondsman will require a cosigner. This is an individual who will complete the paperwork insuring the bondsman that he is protected in the event of bail forfeiture down the road. The cosigner is evaluated for creditworthiness. In other words, is he or she capable of repaying the full amount of the bail if the defendant forfeits the bail by not appearing in court or fleeing the jurisdiction? I’ll discuss forfeitures shortly.A bail bond can best be described as a short term loan. In the above example the five thousand dollars constitutes the amount of the loan. The five hundred dollar premium is what the bondsman is charging to make that loan. As with all loans, repayment is required. In the case of a bail bond, repayment is accomplished by the defendant making his required court appearances until the case is resolved in court whereupon the court will order the bail exonerated. Once that happens the paperwork all goes into a filing cabinet and the relationship between the bondsman, the defendant and the cosigner ends.
Can a defendant cosign for himself?
Rarely. Each situation is evaluated on its own merit but this is not often allowed. Logistically it is difficult or impossible to communicate with a defendant while in custody. Since the financial security needs to be in place prior to release it is generally prudent for the bondsman to deal with a third party to secure the bail bond before the defendant is released from custody.
What is collateral and what does it mean?
Collateral is a way for the bondsman to add protection for himself for bail that he considers “high risk”. Examples of this would be a defendant who has previously forfeited a bail, who has multiple warrants out for him (showing an obvious disregard for the court rules) or who lives out of state thereby increasing the risk of flight from the jurisdiction. Collateral differs from the premium in that it is returned to the cosigner or the party who provides it when the court case is resolved. In the earlier example of a $ 5000 bail the bondsman may ask for a $ 500 premium which is the non-refundable fee for posting the bail. If the defendant lives out of state the bondsman may also require collateral (the amount is at the bondsman’s discretion as he deems appropriate). Unlike the premium, the collateral is returned when the court case is completed. Collateral need not always be cash. Collateral can also be in the form of real or personal property. In the case of large bail amounts, real estate is sometimes used as collateral. Jewelry or other personal property may also be used but this is unusual and at the discretion of the bondsman. The party providing collateral should ALWAYS insure that they obtain a proper receipt for the collateral they furnish. If you want to get it back.
What is forfeiture and what does it mean?
In a perfect world the relationship between the bondsman and the defendant ends when the defendant is released from custody. Unfortunately we know it is not a perfect world!If a defendant fails to appear for any scheduled court date during the period that the bond is in effect, the bondsman receives forfeiture notice from the court almost immediately which starts the 75 day clock ticking.
What is the 75 day clock?
The 75 day clock refers to a statutory time frame wherein the bondsman has to produce the defendant back to the jurisdiction in which they are charged with a crime. This has nothing to do with the cosigner or his financial obligation to the bondsman. From the date of forfeiture the bondsman has 75 days to produce the defendant to the court or pay the full amount of the bond. In the example this would be $ 5000. During this period the bondsman will attempt to contact the defendant to resolve the problem. Failing to do this, the bondsman will turn to the cosigner requesting payment of the full amount of the bond and/or assistance in locating the defendant.
What happens if the bail is forfeited?
If a forfeiture notice is received by the bondsman there are several possibilities. One is that the bondsman or an agent of his commonly referred to as a bounty hunter ( I prefer fugitive recovery agent ) will locate and arrest the defendant and physically transport him back to the jurisdiction for incarceration. This is a last resort as other possibilities exist if the defendant is willing to comply. There are many reasons for forfeiture. The most common excuse is “I never got a notice” I hear that one over and over. I emphasize to every defendant at the time of release that they should contact the court of jurisdiction on the next business day to insure that the court has a valid current address for them and to determine if a court date is already set for them. DO NOT RELY ON THE COURT TO CONTACT YOU! If you miss a court date the court will issue a warrant for your arrest and the bail forfeited. They will not attempt to locate you. Any excuse, valid or not, will be evaluated when you return to court in handcuffs. Another common reason for failure to appear in court is “I didn’t have any money”. This is perhaps the poorest reason for missing a court date. Most judges recognize that you cannot make any money while incarcerated and will work with you on payment arrangements. Simply ignoring a court date because you don’t have cash in your pocket is the worst possible solution. This is not an overdue credit card bill. They will issue a warrant for your arrest. I have personally arrested people who failed to pay a fine as long as 25 years after the fact. It doesn’t go away! Court clerks and judges can and will usually work with you in these circumstances. Often a simple phone call can solve the temporary problem.I mentioned that there are alternatives in the event of bail forfeiture. Often the defendant and bondsman can work together to vacate the warrant that has been issued and continue the existing bail pending a new court date. Another option is to re-post the bail. This requires payment of an additional premium for a new bond but insures the defendant’s freedom pending the new court date. The bondsman will make this decision based on the circumstances that caused the defendant to miss the original court date and his willingness to resolve the problem.The least preferable possibility is for the defendant to simply show up in court for an unscheduled appearance. This is risky as the presiding judge may or may not agree to hear the matter and can very well simply order the defendant arrested by court officers. If a defendant choses to attempt this tactic he or she would be well advised to have a bondsman on standby to post bail if needed.
What is this 10% thing I always hear about?
This is one of the most misunderstood concepts in the world of bail bonds. So let’s explain it. I’ll explain the other types of bail first.When bail is set for a person who is arrested there are several possibilities. They are ROR (Released on Own Recognizance), 10%, Full Cash or Cash or Bond.
- ROR: This is the most favorable scenario for a defendant. Being released on your own recognizance basically means you are released with a simple promise to appear in court. No money is involved. A perfect example is receiving a traffic ticket. You are being charged with a traffic offense and served a summons and released “ROR”. You don’t have to go to jail and post bail. An officer can require bail even for a traffic ticket for an out of state resident or if you exhibit an obvious intent not to appear in court, but that is rare. ROR is granted for other minor offenses as well at the discretion of the arresting officer.
- FULL CASH: This comes up from time to time. In this case the court will not accept a bond. The defendant is required to post the full bail in cash or certified funds. In the example, the defendant is not going anywhere until the full $5,000 is posted. A bail bondsman can’t help you here.
- CASH OR BOND: This is the most common scenario. In this situation the defendant can either post the full $5,000 in cash which they will get back when the case is disposed of, or they can employ the services of a bondsman who will charge a premium and possibly collateral to post the bond for him.
- 10%: This is a source of confusion for a lot of people, including corrections personnel and law enforcement as well. Sometimes a bail is set with a 10% option. In the case of a $5,000 bail, this means the defendant or a representative can pay $500 to obtain the defendant’s release. In this case the person putting up the money will get it back when the court case is disposed of. Conversely, the party putting up that $500 can be held responsible for the full $5,000 if the defendant forfeits the bail by missing a court appearance. No bondsman is involved here. This is between the court and the person who posted the 10% fee.
That seems fairly straightforward right? So why the confusion.Bail Bond companies generally charge 10% of the bail amount as a premium. The courts 10% option does not apply to bondsman. We are not allowed to do that. It is all or nothing. Regardless of the 10% option, if a bondsman posts the bail we are required to post the full amount in the form of a bond. In the case described if the bail is set at $5,000 with a 10% option we cannot write a bond for $500. We have to write a bond for $5,000 and would charge $500 to do so which is not refundable to the cosigner.So why would I use a bondsman if there is a 10% option?Well if you can afford not to, you shouldn’t. If you are confident that the defendant will make the court appearances and you have $500 you would be foolish to use a bondsman. Put up the money yourself and get it back!Here is why you might employ a bondsman in spite of the courts 10% option.Let’s say the bail is not $5000 but now $50,000 with a 10% option. Now you need to come up with $5000 in cash or you need a bondsman to post the full $50,000 bond, but you only have $2500 in ready cash or available on a credit card.The bondsman can work with you here. The premium will still be $5000 but the bondsman may be willing to accept payments on the balance that you don’t have immediately available. In this case the bondsman will look at your credit worthiness to determine the possibilities and repayment terms. In some cases, particularly with larger bails the bondsman may require more than one cosigner to insure that he is protected in the event of forfeiture. In that case, each cosigner is individually obligating him or herself to that full $50,000 should the defendant fail to appear in court while the bond is in effect.In any case the cosigner(s) is responsible for the full amount of the premium regardless of the outcome of the court case.
So now I understand what a bail bond is.
How do I do it?
A typical bail bond starts with a phone call.
“Hi, my boyfriend is in jail in Burlington County Jail. His bail is $ 5000. How much will it cost to get him out?” “Okay, The charge will be $ 500, there may be a $ 30 filing fee as well. I’ll need a cosigner with a full time job who can meet with me and bring a pay stub to document employment”
Once this is settled a meeting is scheduled and the process begins. This is NOT a quick process by the way. The typical bail takes several hours from start until release Meeting can take place at the jail, a police station or preferably at our office. At this time we ask the cosigner to sign a number of documents and pay the premium in cash or by credit card. Some situations may involve a promissory note if there is a balance due on the premium.
So what is all this stuff I’m signing?
A bail bond, as I said, is similar to taking out a short term loan which necessarily involves paperwork.
I caution everyone at the outset NOT to post a bail if they are not confident that the person will comply with the required court appearances. By signing off on the bail you are not only agreeing to pay the premium but also agreeing to pay the full amount of the bond if the defendant defaults on his or her obligation to the court.
You will be asked to sign the following documents:
- Indemnity Agreement: This is an agreement between you and us stating that you agree to indemnify and hold us harmless from any loss involved in posting the bond. If you don’t understand the term indemnify, Google it! It means that you agree to cover any loss we might incur if the party you are posting bail for fails to comply with the courts requirements.
- Contingent Promissory Note: This is a legal note between you and us for the full amount of the bail. In the example case this would be $5,000. Contingent is the key word here. This note is moot until such time as the defendant forfeits the bail as ordered by the court. At that time the note becomes enforceable and the signer is liable for the full amount.
- Fugitive Fee Contract: This is an agreement between you and us that you will bear the cost of locating and arresting the defendant in the event that forfeiture occurs and we are unable to return the defendant to the jurisdiction by other means. The time and expenses involved in locating and retrieving the defendant can be passed along to you in addition to the cost of the actual bail itself and the initial premium.
- Right to Search: The law allows bondsman wide latitude in recovering fugitives. Bondsmen are not encumbered by the same restrictions that apply to law enforcement with regard to search and seizure. Although we make every effort to avoid it, we can and will enter any premises where we reasonably believe a fugitive may be seeking refuge to avoid the jurisdiction which has pending charges against him or her. The search consent form that we require you to sign is an acknowledgement that you, as the cosigner and the defendant understand this.
- Promissory Note: Different from the contingent promissory note, this is a note for an unpaid portion of the initial premium. Although most premiums are due at the time bail is posted, we occasionally allow people to sign a note for a portion of the premium that they cannot afford to pay at the time the bail is posted. This is a courtesy and these notes are due in strict compliance with the terms set at the time of the bail.
Why can’t I post bail?
Believe me, we don’t like this either, but it happens. If you have ever watched a Law & Order rerun you have heard the term “remand”. Remand means that the defendant is being held without bail. This means that until a judge sets a bail amount there is nothing anyone can do about it. There are however other situations where bail is not an option.
- Child Support: In matters of child support bail is not allowed. As a bail bond agency we are not permitted to post bail in such cases. If a person is arrested for past due child support in the amount of $25,353, or $10 for that matter, they have 2 options. They can post cash bail of $25,353 or sit in jail until they get in front of a judge. There is no middle ground on this and a bail bondsman can’t help.
- Restraining Order Violation: This depends on the violation. Sometimes the judge will order remand in order to see the defendant in person before allowing bail. If the judge sets a bail amount we will be happy to help
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