In order to determine how much a bail bond will cost, you have to look at several different factors. The bail amount, the co-signer’s qualifications, the stipulations the judge has set on bail, and the risk to the bonding company all play an important role in figuring the overall cost of a bail bond.
How Bail Amounts Are Set
After a person gets arrested in Georgia, their bail will be based off of the standard ‘bail schedule’ for that particular jail. After they have been fully booked into the system, they will be eligible for bail immediately, depending on if they have any current holds from other jails or a criminal history. If a person has any priors, meaning a criminal history, or if that particular jail does not have a standard bail schedule, then a preliminary bail hearing will be scheduled on the next available business day. The person is not eligible to be released from jail until that point.
Initial Bail Hearing
During the initial bail hearing, an inmate is transported from the jail to the courtroom in which they will wait with all of the other people who are awaiting their bail amounts to be stated by the judge. It is at this time that the defendant can state their case and allow the judge to take into consideration their circumstances when determining how much the bail will cost. The bail amount will either be decided at that point or will be denied. In some circumstances, an inmate may be released without having to pay anything. This is known as a ROI bond or signature bond.
In cases where a defendant has no recent prior convictions and there are no holds from other jails, their bail amount will be based on a standard bail schedule that lists all classes of crimes and the appropriate cost of bail alongside each. The amount of money a defendant has to pay for bail is decided on both the county and state level. For felony charges, a person will not be eligible for a standard fee and will have to go to his or her initial bail hearing.
How Bond Fees Are Calculated
A bail bond can only be written by a licensed bail bond service or agent (bonding company or bondsman), which is a third-party entity who guarantees the inmate’s payment of the full amount of bail if he or she doesn’t show up for court. In other words, if the defendant misses their court date, the bondsman has to pay for the whole amount of bail. In return for the bonding company taking on this role of a sort of babysitter, they charge anywhere from 10% to 15% of the total bail amount, plus any jail fees that are tacked on. All that is needed is a co-signer who has good credit, steady income, and cash to pay for the bond. How much bail bonds cost will vary a little bit from company to company, and it is mostly dependent on two factors: the seriousness of the crime; the financial health of the co-signer.
In some cases where the bail amount set by the judge is extremely high, then a form of collateral will be needed as a security for the bond. If a person jumps bail on a $50,000 bond and the co-signer only earns $35,000 a year, both the bonding company and the co-signer will be in very poor economic positions. That’s why in high risk cases, a bail bondsman will almost always turn away clients. The risk is just too high. For most cases though where there is a misdemeanor or two with little to no prior criminal history, collateral won’t be required as the bail amount won’t be high enough to warrant it. For more information how to get bail money back, read more on our next page. I must also advise anyone reading this that asking a bonding company for a payment plan is always a wise decision. They will typically require you to put down half of the money for the bond and make one or two more payments to get caught up on the full sum of the bond. They won’t extend them out for more than just a couple of months though, so buyer beware.
All in all, for a bail bond, you’re going to pay anywhere from 10%-15% plus jail fees for most bonds in Georgia.