Bail bondsmen often have poor reputations in the community. There may be a perception that they are only interested in profiting out of people’s legal troubles. But the truth is that bail bondsmen and bail agents do provide a very important community service – if there were no bail bondsmen, majority of defendants in criminal cases would have no legal way of making good on their bail, which means that they will not be able to secure their temporary release in order to prepare for their trial.
The amount of bail in any given instance is never meant to be too excessive as to make it impossible for any defendant, given their financial capacity, to make bail. On the other hand, the amount should also be prohibitive enough as to guarantee the defendant’s presence during his court hearings or otherwise, he forfeits the amount of his bail.
Most of the time, many of the individuals caught up in the criminal justice system do not have the financial capacity to pay for their bail. Or even if they have the money, putting the said amount up for bail means that they will not have access to these cash funds during the course of their trial, or not until months later, after the case is concluded. An alternative is utilizing assets in the form of real estate, where the value is sufficient enough to meet the total amount of bail. But that doesn’t mean that you have to sell your property. All you have to do is to put the property up for collateral, and you will be able to secure your temporary release with the assistance of a bail bondsman, who will act as surety on your behalf. If you do appear for your court hearings, then aside from the fee that you pay your bail bondsman, you need not pay any additional amounts, or risk losing the property you have put up as collateral.
Bail bondsmen, therefore, help to protect and assist defendants in criminal cases as they are tried by the system. And this is a particularly important function to serve in a county like San Diego, which is located in a state with one of the largest prison populations in the United States. It is also interesting to note that a U.S. Supreme Court ruling mandated the reduction of the prison population in the state of California. Prisoners from overcrowded state prisons were being moved to county jails, which also had the effect of courts allowing more pre-trial releases including temporary release from jail on bail.
In very practical terms, therefore, the role of bail bondsmen has grown in significance in San Diego and in California as a whole. Since majority of defendants manage to secure their release through the assistance of bail bondsmen, bail bondsmen also need to make sure that they will not end up forfeiting the surety they have put up should the defendant not show up to court. By ensuring the defendants attendance during his court hearings, and taking steps to bring them back in case they do jump bail, bail bondsmen have become an important part of the continuous operating of the criminal justice system.