Bail bonds offer a more affordable way to post bail for someone who has been held by a court, and a common feature is the inclusion of collateral as a condition for securing the bond. In other words, not only are you paying the percentage of the bail required by the bondsman, but you're also signing over something that the bond company will hold onto (or will hold onto on paper, in certain cases) until after the case is complete. If you've never dealt with collateral before, it can seem strange, but it's not hard to understand. And even if you have no collateral, you still have options.
What Counts as Collateral?
Collateral is physical property. It can be actual property, like a house (in which case the bondsman wouldn't actually take the house during the case, but he or she would be able to claim it if the suspect fails to show up in court), a car, jewelry, electronics, and more. Sometimes financial assets can be used as collateral, too. The bond company can take possession of smaller items during the case, or the title to items like cars.
What Can You Do if You Have No Collateral?
Of course, not everyone has collateral to begin with, and many who have collateral aren't willing to risk that much. If the suspect or people trying to bail out the suspect can't come up with collateral, there are companies that have no-collateral bail bonds; these often require a co-signer who will come up with the bail amount if the suspect does not show up to his or her court date.
What Cautions Surround Collateral?
Anyone offering collateral has to be prepared to lose it. That sounds very harsh, especially if the collateral is offered to keep a loved one who you love and trust out of jail. But there is always the very small chance, even when the suspect is determined to show up for the court date, that something can happen and the bond company can keep the collateral.
That does not mean that the original owner of the collateral is doomed to lose it. If you offer your car as collateral and find that your bailed-out friend may actually be bailing on you, too, contact the bail company immediately to discuss the situation. Bail companies are not in this business to take your property, and the bondsman will see what can be worked out. Contact a company, like Bail Bond BY Affordable Bonding, for more help.