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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS:
The following is a list of the most frequently asked questions regarding bail bonds in Colorado. Please feel free to bring your own and inquire of your Colorado licensed bail bondsman. Don't feel embarrassed or naive about this process. It can be a very new and upsetting experience and we are not here to judge you.
WHAT IS BAIL?
Bail is an amount of money or property that is deposited with a court by a person who has been charged with a crime ("the defendant.") A defendant who has been arrested for a crime will usually be held in custody until some form of bail has been posted. Bail is the defendant's guarantee to be present at all court proceedings.
DO I HAVE A RIGHT TO RELEASE ON BAIL?
Yes, for most offenses, except murder and certain violent felonies.
HOW IS THE AMOUNT OF BAIL SET?
The amount and type of bail are fixed by the judge at the first appearance before the court. A court will consider the defendant's individual circumstances when the amount of bail is set. The bail amount must be sufficient to insure that the defendant will appear for all scheduled proceedings. A court must also consider the safety of the community, the seriousness of the alleged crime and the defendant's record.
WHAT ARE THE MOST COMMON TYPES OF BAIL BONDS?
All bail bonds are "appearance bonds." Appearance bonds can be posted by a bail bonding agent. "Personal recognizance bonds" and "property bonds" are obtained from a court.
A "personal recognizance bond," when authorized by a court, permits release from custody on the defendant's "personal recognizance," which is a promise to appear as required by a court. Failure to appear will result in the issuance of an arrest warrant.
A "property bond" may only be obtained from a court. If the court permits, a defendant may be allowed to deposit cash or other valuable property to be held by the clerk as a guarantee that the defendant will appear as required.
WHAT IS A BONDING AGENT?
A bail bonding agent posts a defendant's appearance bond and guarantees that the defendant will appear whenever required. Bail bonding agents must be licensed by the State and have an appointment from an insurance company or be a qualified cash bonding agent. Bail bonding agents are paid a premium, which is usually non-refundable, to post the bond. If the defendant fails to appear, the court may order the bond "forfeited" and require the bonding agent to pay the court the full amount of the bond. Bail bonding agents have the right to apprehend, return the defendant to custody, and to use collateral taken for the bond to pay the bond forfeiture and costs.
AM I REQUIRED TO APPEAR AT ALL COURT HEARINGS?
YES! The most important condition of the bond is your agreement to appear at each and every court hearing. It is your responsibility to know where and when those hearings are set.
WHAT HAPPENS IF I FAIL TO APPEAR IN COURT AS REQUIRED?
The court may issue a warrant for your arrest, revoke your bond or increase the amount of your bond. You may also be charged with a completely new crime known as "failure to appear." The bail bond may be forfeited and the property or money deposited as collateral or the bail bond may be lost.
WHAT SHOULD I DO IF I MISS A COURT APPEARANCE DATE?
It is important for you to act quickly. If you posted a bond with a bail bonding agent, CONTACT THE AGENT IMMEDIATELY. The bail bonding agent may provide you with a "consent of surety." You must take the consent of surety to the court clerk and ask for a new court date. If you did not post a bond through a bonding agent, then go to the court clerk as soon as possible and make arrangements for a new court date. In either case, a warrant was probably issued for your arrest for failure to appear.
IS A BAIL BONDING AGENT AUTHORIZED TO ARREST A DEFENDANT?
Yes. The defendant is obligated by the bail agreement to appear when required by the court. The bail bonding agent is authorized by contract to use reasonable force to apprehend and return the defendant to custody.
DOES THE BAIL BONDING AGENT HAVE THE POWER TO REVOKE A BOND?
Yes. The bail bonding agent may revoke a bond for almost any reason.
DO I HAVE TO NOTIFY THE COURT OF A CHANGE IN MY ADDRESS?
Yes. Most appearance bond forms contain a standard condition that requires you to notify the court immediately if you change your residence or address.
CAN I LEAVE COLORADO WHILE I AM OUT ON BAIL?
No, unless you receive permission from the court and the bonding agent. It depends on the terms of your bond set by the court and on your agreement with the bonding agent. You will probably need the court's approval and a Consent of Surety from the bonding agent.
HOW LONG DOES THE BONDING AGENT HAVE TO WRITE MY BOND?
The bond must be posted within 24 hours of receipt of full payment or a signed contract for payment. If the bond is not posted, all moneys, premium and collateral, if any, must be refunded, and all liens released within 48 hours of receipt.
WHAT IS THE COST FOR A BAIL BOND POSTED BY A BONDING AGENT?
The bonding agent may charge up to 15% of the amount of the bond. For example, if your bond amount is $1,000, the bonding agent may charge you a fee ("premium") of up to $150 plus actual filing fees charged by the jail.
WHAT IS A CO-SIGNER?
As additional security for the bond, a bail bonding agent may require someone else to guarantee the bond by acting as a co-signer. Like the defendant, a co-signer is financially responsible for the full value of the bond and may also be required to provide the bonding agent with some type of collateral or security.
WHAT IS THE RESPONSIBILITY OF THE CO-SIGNER IF THE DEFENDANT FAILS TO APPEAR?
The co-signer is responsible to pay the bail bonding agent the amount of the bond and any reasonable bounty hunting costs incurred by the bonding agent. If the defendant is found, the co-signer is responsible for whatever fees are incurred to apprehend the defendant as agreed to at the time the bond was negotiated. If the defendant cannot be located and the court orders the bonding agent to pay the amount of the bond into the court, the co-signer is responsible for the payment of such money to satisfy the court.
HOW DO I GET HELP IF MY QUESTIONS ARE NOT ANSWERED?
Contact the bonding agent, the insurance company, or the Division of Insurance.