If one of your friends or family members has ever been arrested in Virginia, you may have been asked to post a “bond”. A bond is simply a monetary promise to appear in court on your scheduled court date. If you don’t appear, you’ll either owe the court money or lose the money you’ve posted, and a warrant for your arrest will be issued. So make sure you don’t miss your court date!
There are basically two types of bonds: a Personal Recognizance Bond (“PR bond”), and a Secured Bond.
With a PR bond, you promise the court to appear on your scheduled court dates or pay a penalty to the court, but you don’t have to actually post any money. For example, if you are released from jail on a $2,500.00 PR bond and appear on your scheduled court dates, you won’t owe the court any money. However, if you miss court, you will owe the court $2,500.00 and a warrant for your arrest will be issued.
With a secured bond, you have to actually pay the court the money before you can be released from the jail. For example, if you are granted a $2,500.00 secured bond, you will have to pay the court $2,500.00 before you can be released from the jail. However, so long as you appear on your scheduled dates, the $2,500.00 will be returned to you at the conclusion of your case.
If you can’t afford to post the entire bond amount on your own, you can hire a bondsman to help you. A bondsman is a person who charges you a fee (usually about 10% of the bond amount) to post the bond for you.
For example, if you are granted a $2,500.00 secured bond and can’t come up with $2,500.00, you can pay a bondsman to post the $2,500.00 for you. In this example, the bondsman would charge about $250.00, which you do not get back – it’s the bondsman’s fee for providing a service.
But be careful! You should never have to pay a bondsman more than 10% of the total bond amount. If a bondsman is trying to charge you more than 10%, find another bondsman. And never give a bondsman the full bond amount to post for you. If you have the full bond amount on your own, you don’t need a bondsman – just post it yourself!
Related Topics: What is a Bond Hearing?