Las Vegas Bail Bond Requirements October 16, 2018
This article is to help explain some important information in regards to bail bonds here in Las Vegas. First to clarify the actual words “bail” and “bond” have the same meaning and serve the same purpose. Bail bonds are the amount of the bail in cash or property that is owned free and clear of any liens and has the value equal or greater than the amount of the bail. There is another bond that is available and that is called a Surety bond of which I will go into greater detail later.
Cash bonds are just that. The amount of the entire bond in cash with a small nonrefundable Sheriff’s fee. For example, if the bond to get someone out of jail is $1000, the total bond would be the $1000 + the nonrefundable Sheriff’s fee. The cash can be posted by either the party that has been arrested or someone else. Whomever posts’ the bail is the one that must go on court records at the time of posting the bail. This is so that if the defendant attends all court cases and is found not guilty or charges dismissed, all of the bond funds would be returned to the person of record. Remember, all funds would be returned except the Sheriff’s fee.
If you are an individual that chooses to bail out a friend or family member and you decide at a later date that you want to change your mind, you can. This scenario would require that the defendant turn himself back into the authorities until the time of their arraignment. You would then be eligible for your bail to be returned and that can take up to two weeks to receive the funds. Do note that any cost’s or fees that are incurred by the courts while the defendant is out on bail, the courts have the right to use those funds to pay them.
Let’s say that you feel awful for your friend or family member and decide to post the cash bail for them. Moving forward, the defendant misses their court date. Your bail bond will be automatically forfeited and you will not get your money back. Once the defendant doesn’t show for their court appearances, there is an automatic warrant for their arrest.
That’ a pretty tough pill to swallow so they have given another 2 options in this case. Your first option is to actually find the defendant yourself or with a private investigator and turn them back into the courts within 180 days of the warrant. If you are successful with that process, you can then request your bail to be returned to you. The second option is that the defendant is arrested and detained back into the jail within 180 days of the warrant where you will be able to request for your bail to be returned to you as well. Both situations can take up to 2-3 weeks to return the bail or bond. It is important that you know that if neither of the above scenarios occur, you will lose all of your bail bond money.
Before I go into what a Surety Bond is, I need to explain exactly what a bail bondsman, bonds person, bail agent or bail bond company actually is. These individuals or bail bond companies are all licensed by the State Department of Insurance which allows them to sell what’s called Surety Bonds. The bail bondsman or bail bond company is an agent for the insurance company that sells surety bonds.
Now to get to the Surety Bond. A Surety Bond is basically an agreement between two parties, the person that is getting the Surety bond and the bail bondsman. At that time, this allows the bail bond company to post bail so that the defendant can be released as soon as possible from jail. This is a legal and binding agreement and financially backed by the said insurance company. Only a person that is licensed by the State is able to post a Surety Bond.
The cost of the standard Surety bond is approximately 10% of the total bail. That number can be negotiated and every surety bond contract is different. On top of the estimated 10% there will be Sheriff’s and/or Court fees as well.
As I mentioned earlier, if the defendant is unable or refuses to appear at their court dates, the courts have the right to keep all the bond money. This is why someone may choose to go with the Surety bond so that if the defendant doesn’t appear for their court date they will not lose all of their bond. The fees at that time can include all of the following:
Defendant’s Court Fines
- Fees and Restitution
- Miscellaneous Fees
Be aware that if you post a surety bond and the defendant skips on court, you may required to assist the bail bondsman find the defendant. You may also be held responsible and possibly pay for any fees that the bail bond company spent to find the defendant.
If you choose to do a Property Bond, it is highly recommended that you obtain legal council and do not sign any agreement or contract without their professional assistance.
The rule of thumb on whether to bail a friend or family member out of jail is one that you really need to ask yourself the important question. The question is “If this defendant doesn’t show up for court and skips on their bail, can I afford to lose the money?” If the answer to tha question is no, then you most likely will not want to get involved in the bail bond posting process.