There is often confusion about “posting bail” and “posting bond” at Denver, Arapahoe, and Jefferson County jails (visit the Denver County Jail website). As criminal defense lawyers with 40 years of combined experience, we have the knowledge about bail and bond in sex crime cases and criminal cases throughout Colorado. In today's blog post, we'll discuss frequently asked questions about bail and bond.
What is Bail / Bond in Denver Area Jails?
The first thing we need to discuss, is that the terms “bail” and “bond” mean the same thing. To “post bond” is to put money down on an account with the court as security that the defendant in a criminal case will return for court. It is common for defendants to fail to show up at court after they are released from jail. So, bail / bond must be posted in all serious sex crime cases in Adams, Douglas, and El Paso County.
What Types of Bail / Bond are Typically Required by Courts?
There are a few different types of bail / bond which are required by courts across the Denver metro area. Let's discuss these different types:
– Personal Recognizance Bond:
When a Personal Recognizance Bond is posted at a jail, no money is required. Instead, the defendant writes an “I owe you” to the court with a cosigner. This is a promise to pay a certain amount of money if the defendant doesn't appear at court. Usually, felony cases require thousands of dollars in bail / bond. If the defendant fails to show up in court, this becomes a civil judgment against them. Obviously, this type of bond is the most attractive for defendants, because no real money must be put down.
– Property Bond:
When a Property Bond is posted, real estate is used as the bail / bond. For this type of bail to be posted, the real estate held as collateral must have equity that is at least two times the bond amount. A sort of lien is held on the property, and if the defendant fails to appear at court, the lien on the property will be foreclosed, providing the court with their money. This type of bail / bond is attractive for defendants, because (like the Personal Recognizance Bond), no real money must be put down. Courts are usually loath to grant this type of bond, however, because of the difficulty involved in getting property values appraised and liens clarified.
– Surety Bond:
The Surety Bond is the most common type of bail / bond. For this type of bond, a bondsman will post the money for a defendant, in exchange for a fee. Whenever my clients ask about this type of bail, I tell them to think about it as if they are renting money – just as if you were renting a car. The rental fee is usually about 15% for bonds amounts less than $10,000, and 10% for bond amounts above that. When you show up for your last court date, the bondsman is no longer accountable for your bond. It's important to understand that bondsmen don't actually post cash as a bond – instead, they post an insured promise to pay if you fail to appear at court. Bondsmen are licensed in each state and are backed by a national insurance company.
– Cash Bonds:
Cash bonds are posted by people who have the income and means to put up real money for their bond. The name of this type of bail / bond says it all – a person puts down real money when they post bond. The benefit of this type of bail / bond is that 100% of it is returned to the person who posted it once the defendant completes their criminal case at sentencing.
Typical Bond / Bail Amounts in Denver Metro Area Courts
There are three ways the bond / bail amount is decided in Denver area criminal cases:
1.Before the Arrest: A judge sets the bond / bail amount before the defendant's arrest at the time the arrest warrant is issued. Police officers usually have the only input on the bail / bond amount.
2.By Schedule / Law: The judge will determine what dollar amount fits the crime the defendant is accused of, by utilizing guidelines and schedules in the law.
3.In the Courtroom: Sometimes, the judge sets the bond / bail amount when the defendant is brought to them in the courtroom. This is most often done in serious cases, or when a judge also needs to impose a Restraining / Protection order on the defendant. In this situation, the defendant must sit in jail and cannot post bond / bail until the Bond Hearing occurs. This is often called a “no bond hold.”
Where Do I Post Bail and Bond?
In most counties across the Denver metro area, bond / bail is posted at the jail itself. In some jurisdictions, bail or bond is posted at the courthouse. This is unusual, however, because jails are open 24/7, while courthouses operate under limited hours.
Extra Bond / Bail Taxes and Fees
There are extra fees which you are required to pay when you post bail or bond in Colorado. Simply put, these are fees you must pay for the privilege of being arrested. They are big moneymakers for jails. These two fees are: 1) the Booking Fee, which is $40, and 2) The Bond Fee, which is $10. If you are found innocent at trial, or the charges against you are dismissed, the Booking fee can be refunded.
An Expert Lawyer Will Help You Traverse the Bail / Bond System
The criminal justice system is complex and can be confusing. Don't try to traverse it alone – work with an expert defense attorney to ensure the best outcome in your criminal case.
The criminal justice system is complex. And, it can be confusing for people who don't work or deal with it on a daily basis. Often, people just accept what the court tells them, not questioning whether or not they can get a more reasonable bond. That's where a knowledgeable, experienced criminal defense lawyer comes in. The criminal defense attorneys at the O'Malley Law Office frequently negotiate more reasonable bonds when we appear in court for our clients. Bond amounts are often determined by a judge with the input of a police officer – who is usually biased. Also, people don't understand there are often conditions to bonds which can make it difficult to live your life normally. Don't just accept what the court says to you. Instead, contact an expert criminal defense lawyer to advocate on your behalf and get you the best possible outcome in your criminal case.Request a Free Consultation