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Bail bonds help you put up enough money to be released from prison before a trial if you have been charged with a crime. Bail may be set automatically, so you can pay it almost immediately, or by a court, in which case you must wait for a bail-setting hearing. Bail is set based on various factors, including the nature of the offense, and many people don't have enough money on hand to cover the amount. Part of the bond total is paid as a fee to the bondsman, and that agent agrees to pay the total bond to the court if you don't show up for a hearing.
Bail bondsmen act as a surety. They promise to pay the bail money if you don't show up for hearings or trials. For example, if bail is $50,000, you may need to pay a fee of 10%, which is $5,000, and the bondsman agrees to be on the hook for the other $45,000 if you don't follow through with requirements.
Bail bondsmen can only arrest you if they're bond agents or bounty hunters. Some bail bondsmen may work in this capacity, but many contract with bounty hunters for this purpose. The role of a bounty hunter is to find and arrest people who have skipped out on bail. Bondsmen are usually provided with a timeline during which they can turn the person in to authorities and avoid having to pay the entire bail. Whether a bounty hunter can actually arrest you depends on individual state laws.
Many times you don't have the cash on hand to pay the bail bondsman fee immediately, and you can sign an agreement to do so. The bondsman puts up surety, and you must pay the fee within a certain period of time. If you don't, the bondsman can revoke the bail, and a bounty hunter can arrest you and turn you into the authorities. At that time, you would have to pay the entire bail to be released again.
Yes, bail bondsmen can run warrant checks to determine if they want to offer you their service. If you have numerous warrants in various areas, they may consider you too much of a risk. They might also run warrant checks as part of any investigation to locate you if you don’t show up in court.
Depending on the state, bounty hunters don't need a warrant to enter your home. They also don't have to announce themselves because you waive certain rights when you sign a bail bond agreement. If you don't hold up your end of that agreement, the bail bondsman can hire a bounty hunter to find you and bring you to authorities.