What Is A Bond In A Criminal Case in Georgia?
Many people see bail and bonds as the same thing and use those terms interchangeably. While they are very similar, they are different. Bail is the term used to describe the money given as a security deposit to assure that you will appear for all court proceedings. The purpose of bail is to allow someone accused of a crime to stay out of jail while awaiting trial. This is beneficial to both the defendant and the criminal justice system. For defendants, it allows them to seek representation or to prepare on their own for their case. For the state, it helps reduce overcrowding in jail facilities and reduces confinement costs. A bond is when a bondsman, makes a pledge on the defendant's behalf to pay the bail if they do not attend court.
Types of Bonds
In Georgia criminal cases, a bond is an assurance a defendant gives the state while in prison promising to come to court when instructed. Defendant has the option to choose which kind of bond they would like to use:
Cash Bond: Cash bonds are the quickest way to get a person out of jai but the money will not be returned until after the case is completed.The benefit of cash bonds is that if the defendant does not miss a court date, then they get their money back at the end of the case, regardless of the outcome.
Surety Bond: A surety bond is an agreement between 3 parties and it is the most common type of bond. The bonding company (surety) ensures that the defendant will appear for court because if not, then the court receives the full amount of the bond from the surety.
Property Bond: Another option is a property bond where the defendant pledges that in exchange for their release, they will encumber the property. The defendant produces a warranty deed or a current tax statement showing the property's fair market value. If they do not show up for court, then the county can file a foreclosure procedure against the property. There are a couple large disadvantages to using a property bond. The first one is the length of time it can take to resolve a case. Until the case is completed, the property cannot be sold, divided, or refinanced. The other large risk is the actual act of pledging real property. Sometimes the risk to the property owner exceeds the benefit of procuring the release of a person. The only time a property bond is recommended is when the bond amount is too much for a family member to post.
Who Is Entitled To A Bond?
Every defendant is entitled to a bond, but that does not mean that everyone gets out of jail. If the accused is charged with something serious, the judge may set the bond high enough that the defendant is unable to come up with the money and, therefore, must wait in jail until his case is settled. This occurs in cases where the defendant is charged with a dangerous crime. If the accused does not miss their court date and the case is settled, their bond money will be returned to them. However, a failure to appear for any of the court dates will result in the money for the bond being forfeited and the defendant being returned to jail.
What Is A Superior Court Bond?
For certain serious crimes, only a Superior Court Judge can set bond. Some of these crimes as specified in O.C.G.A. §17-6-1 include:
- Aggravated sodomy
- Armed robbery
- Aggravated child molestation
- Aggravated sexual battery
- Aggravated stalking
- Trafficking in cocaine or marijuana
- Kidnapping, arson, aggravated assault, or burglary if the person had previously been convicted of or on bail for one of those offenses or any of the other listed offenses.
Being arrested is overwhelming and difficult to handle on your own. The legal system is not designed for self-service, and you should not have to go through it on your own. If you have any questions, please call our office and speak with one of Georgia’s Premier Criminal Defense Attorneys. If your family member is incarcerated, the time to act is now! Contact us today for a free case evaluation.