HOW BAIL BONDS WORK
How bail bonds work in Billings Montana? A bail bond is an insurance policy a bail bond company issues through a licensed insurance agent (Bondsman), insuring that the defendant will make all court appearances relative to the charges stated on the bond. The defendant is the individual who is being bailed out of jail. A bail bond is an alternative to posting the total amount in cash that most families or friends simply don't have. The agent usually takes about 10% of the total amount of the bond; example: $500 for a $5000 bond, this is called the premium.
After the defendant has appeared forall their court dates, the liability on the bail bond is waived and has fulfilled its purpose. Any fines or restitution is now the defendant's responsibility to pay the courts. On the other hand, if the defendant does not make all court appearances the co-signer, also referred to as the indemnitor, is liable for any bond forfeiture fees. This includes the total bond amount, collection fees, bounty hunter fees, etc.Because of this most bonds require collateral.
How do I start the bail process?
In most cases, arrangements are made to meet a co-signer at a specific jail or at a place of your choosing. After collecting the premium, signing all the necessary paperwork, and accepting any agreed upon physical collateral, the bail bond company posts the bail bond and the defendant is released.
Do I have a Yellowstone County or Billings city warrant?
Call #CMBBI and we'll check with authorities for you. You can also call authorities yourself and ask a warrants officer in the jurisdiction you believe a warrant was issued, if such a warrant exists. They will usually tell you the bond amount and charges.
Do I get my money back after the defendant goes to court?
No. The premium paid to our bail bond company helped to effect the immediate release of an inmate from the Yellowstone County Detention Facility. However, any collateral, physical or otherwise, must be returned to the co-signer (indemnitor) in a timely manner.
If I co-sign on a bond and the defendant does not show up for court, what happens?
You, the co-signer, then acknowledge and accept the total financial liability for the defendant's bond. You will be financially responsible for the repayment of costs incurred by the bail bond company, which could include the following:
- The total bond amount set by the court
- Bounty hunter fees
- Travel expenses
- Extraditing expenses
- Lawyer fees
- Court costs
Be aware, you as the cosignor can be sued for these costs and will lose any presented collateral.
Can I post the bail myself?
Yes. You can pay the entire bond amount in cash to the jail to secure release of a defendant in jail.
How long does it take for an inmate to be released?
There is no set time. The waiting time in Yellowstone County or Billings City jail is often one to three hours. While our paperwork takes about fifteen minutes to process, the jail must be thorough and process the inmate, check for other wants and warrants and assess the individual.
Will a judge be in to set bond, even on weekends?
Judges generally will not be in on weekends and holidays. Most judges will set bail for new felonies committed, and PFMAs (partner family member assault), on the following Monday. Warrants with dollar amounts, set by any judge in the state, may bond out on the weekends. A person with a fugitive warrant (out of state warrant), must see a local district judge before bail is granted. The same holds true for probation and parole holds. Billings city Police and the Yellowstone County Sheriff Department have bond fee schedules set by judges for various charges allowing the arresting officer to determine the bond amount for non-felony crimes. This allows the arrested person to post bail on the weekend, or during the week, this is usual Montana procedure.
In Montana a bondsman has 90 days to either arrest the defendant or coax them into court on their own accord. If this is accomplished, the co-signer is relieved of paying back the total bond amount. However, you can still be assessed any costs incurred by the bonding company, to affect the apprehension and arrest of the defendant, should it become necessary.
Can a defendant on bonded leave the state of Montana?
Yes, with the permission of the courts and the bail bond agency. This is a usual request, if the bonded person was arrested in this state, lives in another, and simply wants to go home while awaiting court dates. This may also apply to a bonded person who has to leave the state for a brief period.
What if the bonded person is convicted and appeals to a higher court?
This would require a whole new bond issued by the bail bond agent; the appeal in itself is a whole new undertaking by the bail agency. This can take one or more years to resolve.
How is a felony bail amount determined?
When determining bail for a suspect, the judge will consider the suspect's flight risk and the severity of the crime. If a suspect has a criminal history, or a history of not showing up for court appearances, this may affect a judge's decision regarding bail. The judge may consider: whether the suspect is a risk to others, whether the suspect has ties to the community, the stability of residence, work history and the nature of the crime. As a result of this information, release conditions and bail terms are established. Ultimately, the bail is at the judge's discretion.
How do I bail someone out in another state?
We will secure the bond here in Montana in terms of premium, co-signer, or any collateral. Once secured, we'll contact one of our many agents, nationwide, to post the bail at the jail where the person is being held.