If you watch a lot of court television, you’ve probably seen dozens of court scenes where the judge bangs the gavel and announces something like “bail is set for $180,000”, and the defendant looks dejected because of the huge amount. Yet somehow, he is able to go home. Where did he get the money? A bail bond company.
Bail bond companies work like a lender that deals with payments required to get people out of jail. They take a huge risk doing this because people skip bail all the time, and disappear.
The purpose of setting a high bail amount is to make sure that defendants show up at their trial date, and not have to deal with bounty hunters when they skip bail. Minimum bail amounts are preset corresponding with specific offenses, but the judge can sometimes impose larger amounts.
For instance, the recommended bail amount for kidnapping charges in Orange County is $100,000. If the defendant is a flight risk, without family, employment, or ties to the community, the bail amount could be significantly higher.
After the company has posted the set bond, a receipt is issued, and the defendant is released with a court appearance date. If he or she abuses this process and fail to show up, the bail is revoked, and bounty hunters are unleashed. That’s a whole different affair, but you really do not want to end up on their list.