What is Bail Bond? | Criminal Law

What is Bail Bond?

Introduction

A bail bond is an arrangement made by a convicted suspect to appear for trial or to pay the amount of money set by the judge. The bail bond is co-signed by a bail bondsman, who charges the prisoner a fee in exchange for obtaining the ransom. When someone is charged and booked for a serious crime, they have to wait for a bail hearing. During the hearing, the judge must weigh the charges and circumstances before determining the size of the bond. If the defendant is unable to pay the bail fee, they may either remain in jail until their court date or employ a bail bond agent. The bail bond attorney will charge a percentage of the bail amount as a non-refundable fee and then give bail to the defendant when the bail bond paperwork is done.Provisions for bail in trial court & inherent powers of high court : a webinar brief - iPleaders

The following article deals with the whole process of Bail Bonds and the Role of Bail bond agents with some advantages and disadvantages of this facility provided to the suspects. A remarkable case law issued under the topic of Bail bonds was of Hussainara Khatoon V. State of Bihar, 1979 Where it has been shown that the transgression of justice which might poorly accused little Indian or forced into longer cellular servitude for small offenses because their bail proceedings go beyond their meager means and trials do not begin and even if they never conclude. The Apex court has suggested that instead of money factors, other factors such as family ties, roots in the community, job security, membership for stable organizations etc should determine the grant of bail and in appropriate cases, the accused be released on his personal bond without monetary obligations.

Provisions as to bail bond are provided in chapter 33 of the Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 (hereinafter referred to as Cr.P.C.). Section 440 of the Code clearly states that the amount so fixed by the court should take due regard to the circumstances of the case and should not be excessive. Sessions court and high courts are empowered under this section that they may direct the magistrate or the police officer to reduce the amount of the bail bond. 

Section 441 of the Code provides that the offender so released on bail or on his own bond, needs to sign a bond of such money as the police officer or the court deems necessary for ensuring his presence when at the time mentioned in the bond or until any time as directed by the court. Thus, bond provides for a surety of the presence of the offender to the court when called upon either to answer the charge or otherwise. In case where a minor is required to execute a bond, the police officer or the court in lieu may execute it only by surety or sureties only. Bond can contain conditions. Such conditions need to be mentioned in the bond itself while executing it. 

The court is empowered to commit the person released on bail to jail in two cases: if the surety or sureties are found to be insufficient or afterwards become insufficient; or of the surety or sureties apply before the court for the direction of discharge of either whole bond or any part as related to the applicants. The court, before committing such person to jail may ask him to find sufficient surety to grant him bail again.

When any person is required by any Court or officer to execute a bond with or without sureties, such Court or officer may, except in the case of a bond for good behaviour, permit him to deposit a sum of money or Government promissory notes to such amount as the Court of officer may if in lieu of executing such bond.

The courts have to limit their power where there is only delay in payment to the bail or just because the indemnitor decides not to be responsible for the bail anymore. However, under Section 466 of the Code, the court can forfeit the bail bond on the ground that the condition of production of any property is not fulfilled or if the penalty is not paid without a sufficient cause. Forfeiture here means the retainment of the bond money even after the case is over. In the latter case, if even the surety does not come up for the offender rescue then, the offender may be imprisonment which may extend to 6 months. It also in the discretion of the court to remit any amount of penalty after recording the reasons for doing so and allow the part performance. Further, if the offence for which the offender has furnished security under Sections 106 or 117 or 360 of Cr.P.C. result into conviction of the offender which resultantly breach any condition (such as tampering evidence, commission of any offence, hamper investigation, runs away, commits any act of violence against police) of his bond, the judgement of conviction shall be used against him and his sureties unless the contrary to this proved. Such forfeiture of bond is appealable against as mentioned in Section 449 of the Code. On appellate court has the power to levy such amount due on a bond for appearance before such court.

But what happens after the bond is forfeited? On the event of death of the surety or his becoming insolvent or when any forfeiture is carried out in the above cases, the court shall order such person from whose security was demanded to furnish a fresh security bond failure of which the magistrate of first class may proceed as if there been a default in complying with the original order of bond.

Following any forfeiture of bond in case of any breach of the conditions mentioned in it, result into cancellation of such bond where the alleged offender thereafter cannot seek release on bail on his own bond except when the police officer or the court is of the view that no sufficient cause of failure can arise of the person bound by the bond to comply with its condition. 

Above were the provisions of bail bond but what actually happens after an order is passed in this regard? How to execute a bail bond after the passing of such order? 

The documents required for practical execution are:

  1. Bail application
  2. Id proof of the person executing it
  3. Id proof of the surety giving guarantee for the person
  4. Demand draft or cheque for the sum to be paid for the bond 
  5. Property papers in case a property is being charged for the purpose of furnishing the bail bond and tax return receipts.
  6. Declaration by the surety or sureties 
  7. Letter of undertaking 

The surety has to provide for an application of undertaking of the bail bond for the offender. He is also having to be certified that he is not insolvent and possess enough property to enable and stand surety. Besides he also has to declare as an indemnitor he has the knowledge of the conditions on which the bail bond is executed and that he provides for the surety of fulfilment of the conditions on behalf the offender. Thus, at the police station, after signing the requisite documents and paying the bond money, the execution of bail is completed.

Advantages

It’s easy to see the negatives when you’re involved in the bail bond process, whether you’re the one who needs to get out of jail or you’re the one who’s helping a loved one out. It’s a terrible situation that nobody wants to be in, so it’s pretty hard to see the light of the situation. A few advantages of issuing bail bonds are that most bail bond companies are open on a daily basis, in fact, on a 24-hour basis. As such, one can obtain bail bonds at any time they need them. With bail bonds, only 10% of the bail amount needs to be paid. The rest is going to be the job of bail bondsman to sort out. 

Most of the agents that run bail bond companies are professionals in court cases, prosecution, and bail and bond issues. As such, you will benefit from their vast experience and knowledge. You can pay bail bonds with some kind of payment plan and thus, ease your financial burden when you’ve been arrested. You pay only 10% of the full bail amount, leaving you with 90 percent to save or spend as much as you need. You can pay your small bail bond installments with cash, credit or debit and checks. A secure online payment portal is also available. There is no need to worry about going to the courthouse with a large amount of bail money. You will be assigned a professional and helpful bail agent. They’ll give you advice throughout the entire process and you’ll know exactly what’s going on. Like a lawyer, they want you to get the best result.

Disadvantages

The bail bond system is considered discriminatory by many, even in the legal profession, as it requires low-income defendants to stay in jail or scrap a 10% cash fee and the rest of the bail-in collateral even before they stand trial for any crime. According to a report conducted by prison policy organizations, about 536,000 people are being held in jail because they can’t afford bail or bail bondsman services. At the end of the process, you won’t get the bail bond money. The bondman accepts the 10% premiums as their fees. You can only take advantage of the bail bond company in the state where it is licensed. You may not benefit from this if you are not located within their jurisdiction.

Conclusion

In my opinion, whilst granting bail may also consider the socio-economic factors of the accused flight of the accused may also be taken into account and compassionate attitude towards them, the court may take into account certain conditions prior to granting bail which are the nature of the offense committed by the accused, which are considering, the nature of the offense charged and the apparent likelihood of conviction. It may also include any other factor indicating the relationship of the accused shall be the community or barring the risk of intentional failure to appear, the character and former criminal record of the defendant shall be the determination of the amount of bail in the present case. At the time of bail, the person does not have the right to live outside the jurisdiction of the court, he/she does not have the power to go abroad and in other states without the permission of the court, because you have to appear at the court and police station at any time and you have to pay a fixed deposit in court.