Category Archives: Surety Bond

The type of bail bond posted by an bondsman. Also known as a commercial bail bond

Child Support and Commercial Bail Bonds

Jeff Downer   When an individual falls behind in the payment of of child support a court may issue an order the person be arrested and held in custody.   These court rulings are called different things depending on the jurisdiction.   Body attachment, bench warrant, contempt citation or detention order are common terms for these situations.

Once an individual is incarcerated for failure to pay child support and efforts are made to secure release the term ‘bond’ will often come into play.  It is natural at these times that a commercial bail bondsman will be contacted.  Unfortunately in these circumstances a bail bondsman will not be able to provide assistance.

There is good reason why bail agents are not able to help and that reasoning is based on the court’s intent when ordering that the individual be taken into custody.

When the court orders commercial  bail it is seeking a surety that all court appearances will be made.  In a child support matter the court’s primary concern is that child support payments are up to date, so any monies being paid to secure release are to be applied to the unpaid child support and not to a third party such as a bail bondsman.

That is how it should be.

So what is  to be done when someone is being held in custody for failing to pay child support?  The exact answer to that will vary among each jurisdiction.  The first step should be to contact jailer and/or the county clerk for specific instructions on how to proceed.   Find here contact information for jails and county clerks in Marion and surrounding counties.

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Marion County Bail Bond Codes

Jeff Downer  In Marion County, Indiana there a variety of bail bond types.  It is important to understand the nature of each bail bond type because each has its own rules about how much money is required and the procedures by which it is posted.

These bail bond types are frequently referred to by their computer code designations.  Find below list of bail bond types sorted by their codes and accompanied by an explanation of how to determine the amount to be paid and the procedures to be followed.

  • SR Bond –  The SR code designates a surety bond.   A surety bond requires the use  of a bail bondsman to post the bond.  The bondsman’s premium fee is 10% of the total bond amount set by the court.  If the bond is set at $10,000, the bondsman would be paid $1000 to post the bond.
  • CS Bond – The CS code designates a cash bond.  A cash bond would require that the entire amount of the bond set by the court be posted directly with the court clerk.  If the bond is set at $500 then then that amount must be paid.  Any person is eligible to post a cash bond.  Once the case is over the bond money will be returned less any fines and court fees that are deducted.
  • PR Bond – The PR code designates a percent bond.   A percent bond would require a payment of 10% of the total bond amount to be paid to the court clerk.  If the bond is $10,000 then the court clerk would need to be paid $1000.  Any person can post a percent bond. Once the case is over the bond money will be returned less any fines and court fees that are deducted.
  • XC Bond – The XC code designates a type of split bond.  XC bonds are a hybrid of a surety and a cash bond requiring a bond of each type to be posted.  How much that required to be paid can be confusing with an XC bond.   An $11,000 XC bond would require both $1,000 cash and $10,000 surety bonds to be posted making the total expenditure $2,000.
  • XR Bond – The XR code designates another type of split bond.  XR bonds are a hybrid of surety and percent bonds.  Again calculating the amount to be paid is confusing.  For example a $5,500 XR bond would require both a $5,000 percent bond and a $5,000 surety bond requiring a total expenditure of $1,000.

There are three other codes which are used instead of bond codes and designate release statuses that do not involve the use of bail bonds.  They are:

  • OR – OR means release on own recognizance.  It simply means that the defendant is to be released without the posting of a bond.
  • NB – NB indicates that the defendant is to be held without bond and is not eligible to be released.
  • CR – CR indicates a court ordered release due to no charges being filed or the case has been dismissed.
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Posted in Bail Bonds, Cash Bond, Indianapolis, Own Recognizance, Surety Bond. Tagged with , .

When I Sign on a Bail Bond, What Are My Responsibilities?

Jeff Downer  When an individual bails someone out of jail they are presented with a lot of paperwork to sign consisting of what is often disparagingly called legalese.  Such fineprint found on bail bond applications is often not readily transparent and as might be expected spells out significant responsibilities of the person (called the indemnitor) signing on the bond.

What the paperwork is spelling out is that if the defendant fails to appear, the indemnitor is agreeing to bear the financial repercussions of the defendant failing to appear in court.  These repercussions include:

  • Costs of locating, apprehending and transporting the defendant
  • Any legal fees incurred
  • The amount of the bail bond forfeited to the court

Undertaking such obligations requires some serious thought.  The foremost question, of course, being:  Is the defendant a flight risk?   As long the defendant attends all their court dates, the indemnitor has nothing to fear.  If the defendant does become a fugitive the indemnitor must be willing to work with the bonding company to locate the defendant in order to minimize any financial obligations that may be incurred.

When considering whether to bond someone out, please bear these things in mind and do not hesitate to ask the bail agent any questions you might have about the paperwork you would be expected to sign.

Find here the application forms we use at Jeff Downer Bail Bonds.

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How Long Is a Surety Bail Bond Valid?

Jeff Downer  When a bail agent posts a bond, it is called an undertaking.  Bail agents are often asked how long the bail bond undertaking is valid.  This question is generally concerns whether the bond is only intended for appearance at the initial hearing of the case.

The answer is the bail bond in effect for all court appearances ordered by the judge for a period of three years.  This is per the following section of the Indiana Code:

Indiana Code 27-10-2-3
Undertakings; validity; defect of form or other irregularity; expiration
Sec. 3. (a) An undertaking is valid if it states:
(1) the court where the defendant is to appear;
(2) the amount of the b l; and
(3) that it was made before an official legally authorized to take the bond.
(b) A surety remains liable on an undertaking despite:
(1) any lack of the surety’s qualifications as required by section 4 of this chapter;
(2) any other agreement that is expressed in the undertaking;
(3) any failure of the defendant to join in the undertaking; or
(4) any other defect of form or record, or any other irregularity, except as to matters covered by subsection (a).
(c) Any undertaking written after August 31, 1985, shall expire thirty-six (36) months after it is posted for the release of a defendant from custody. This section does not apply to cases in which a bond has been declared to be forfeited and the surety and bail agent have been notified as described in section 12 of this chapter.
As added by P.L.261-1985, SEC.1. Amended by P.L.355-1989(ss), SEC.1; P.L.105-2010, SEC.6.

If the case goes over the three year period the bond must be renewed to for the undertaking to remain in place.  That being said, in my experience I have never had an undertaking reach the three year expiration limit.

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Posted in Bail Bonds, Business, Indiana, Law, Surety Bond.

Methods of Bail Bond Premium Payment

Jeff Downer  The commercial (surety) bail bond industry in Indiana is heavily regulated.  This regulation extends into how a bail bondsman may accept payment for his services.  This payment is called premium and is defined by Indiana Code as follows:

IC 27-10-1-8
“Premium”
Sec. 8. “Premium” means:
(1) currency issued by the United States of America paid to a bail agent prior to the execution of a bail bond;
(2) a check delivered to a bail agent prior to the execution of the bail bond that must be:
(A) properly payable when delivered; and
(B) deposited in the bail agent’s bank account; or
(3) a credit card transaction if the bail agent:
(A) accepts the credit card; and

(B) obtains:
(i) authorization from the credit card issuer for the amount due; and
(ii) an approval number from the credit card issuer for the credit card transaction;
before the execution of the bail bond.
As added by P.L.261-1985, SEC.1. Amended by P.L.224-1993, SEC.3; P.L.348-1995, SEC.1.

Accepting payment in any other manner is considered to be failure to collect full premium and is considered a felony per Indiana Code:

IC 27-10-4-5
Failure of bail agent to collect full premium
Sec. 5. A bail agent who knowingly or intentionally executes a bail bond without collecting in full a premium for the bail bond, at the premium rate as filed with and approved by the commissioner, commits a Class D felony.
As added by P.L.261-1985, SEC.1. Amended by P.L.224-1993, SEC.29.

Ouch!  So the method of paying premium is strictly limited.  A bail agent may accept cash, debit card, credit card or a check.  The full eight percent of the bond amount set by the court must be paid.  The agent may not accept things like cars, boats or other types of property as premium payment.

The complete section of the Indiana Code governing commercial bail bonds may be found here.

 

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Is Bail Bond Premium Refunded?

Jeff Downer  The fee paid to a bail bondsman is called premium.  The premium is earned by using the bail bond company’s financial resources for the full bond amount as a guarantee the defendant will appear in court.  At Jeff Downer Bail Bonds the premium is set by law at eight percent of the bond amount.

Once the case is over, bail agents often are asked if the premium will be refunded.  The answer is no for two reasons:

The first reason is that the premium was earned.  The defendant did not have come up with the entire amount of the bond to be released.  The bail bond company did that and as an insurer assumed the financial risk of the defendant’s failure to appear in court.

The second reason is that the refunding (or rebating) of premium by bail insurers is prohibited by Indiana law and is a criminal offense:

IC 27-10-4-2
Advising employment of attorney; paying fees or rebates; acting as attorney; accepting property; soliciting business
Sec. 2. (a) A bail agent or recovery agent may not do any of the following:
(1) Suggest or advise the employment of or name for employment any particular attorney to represent the bail agent’s principal.
(2) Pay a fee or rebate or give any property to an attorney in bail bond matters, except in defense of any action on a bond.
(3) Pay a fee or rebate or give or promise any property to the principal or anyone in the bail agent’s behalf.
(4) Participate in the capacity of an attorney at a trial or hearing of one on whose bond the bail agent is surety.
(5) Accept any property from a principal except the premium, bail bond filing fee (when applicable), and transfer fee (when applicable), except that the bail agent or surety may accept collateral security or other indemnity from the principal that must be returned upon final termination of liability on the bond. The collateral security or other indemnity required by the bail agent or surety must be reasonable in relation to the amount of the bond.
(6) Solicit business in or about any place where prisoners are confined or in or near any courtroom.
(b) A person who recklessly violates this section or who operates as a bail agent or recovery agent without a valid license commits a Class A misdemeanor.
As added by P.L.261-1985, SEC.1. Amended by P.L.224-1993, SEC.26.

Confusion about the refunding of premium is understandable. The posting of a cash deposit with the court can be an alternative.  If the defendant has been required by the court or chosen to pay the entire bond amount as a cash bond themselves, then that deposit is eligible to be refunded minus any fines, costs or fees levied by the court.

More information about surety bail bond regulation can be found at the Indiana Department of Insurance Bail Bond Division website.

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Posted in Bail, Bail Bonds, Business, Cash Bond, Indiana, Law, Surety Bond. Tagged with , , , .

Who Needs a Bail Bondsman?

Jeff Downer  Just because someone has been arrested does not mean a bail bondsman will be required to post bail.   Defendants may be released to await trial by a variety of means.  The terms and conditions of pretrial release is set by the court.

The form of pretrial release the court may choose from is as follows:

  • Own Recognizance (OR) – An OR release doe not require the posting of any type of bond.  The defendant is released on only on their promise to appear.
  • Cash Bond – The court sets an amount and requires the entire amount of the bond to be deposited directly with the court.
  • Ten Percent Deposit Bond – The court sets a bond amount and ten percent of that amount is deposited directly with with the court.
  • Surety Bond – Also known as commercial bail, the court sets a bond amount which may be posted by a bail bondsman.  The bondsman charges a fee of ten percent of the total bond amount to post the bond.

When seeking to post a a bond, a bail bondsman is only necessary when the court has specified surety or commercial bail.

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