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How Bail Works in Colorado
When a person is arrested for a crime in the State of Colorado, typically that person will be taken to a local detention facility for booking. After the booking process is complete, the defendant has several options for release. Bail is designed to guarantee the appearance of a defendant in court.
If you choose to use a bail agent, he/she guarantees to the court that the defendant will appear in court each and every time the judge requires them to. For this service, the agent will charge a non-refundable premium or fee.
Typically, a family member or friend of the defendant will cosign on the bond. This is a contractual undertaking. Prior to the posting of a bail bond, the cosigner (also known as indemnitor) must guarantee that they will pay the full amount of bail if the defendant does not appear in court. The cosigner also guarantees payment of the premium charged (if applicable). When you are a cosigner you must make sure the defendant appears at all court appearances and that the bail premium is paid on time.
If the defendant fails to appear, the cosigner is immediately responsible for the full amount of the bail. If the defendant is located and arrested by the bail enforcement agent then cosigner is responsible for all expenses the bail agent incurs while looking for the defendant.
What happens when someone is arrested?
The person being arrested is taken to a local city or county jail where they are "booked" for their particular offense. At that time the arrestee's photo is taken (also known as a mug shot) and their fingerprints are recorded. In addition booking numbers are assigned, bail amounts determined, and court appearances set.
How long does the "booking" process take?
The booking process is generally long and tedious. During this process the jail is running the arrestee's name, social security number, and fingerprints through a national database. The jail is verifying the arrestee's identity and searching for any other pending warrants in other cities and states. This process is lengthy and usually takes from two 2 to 24 hours.
What happens after the "booking" process is complete?
After a person has been booked, the defendant has several options for release. They may include:
Sometimes a defendant is released and no charges are filed.
Bail amount is set by the jail or court.
Defendant is released on their own recognizance (also known as a PR bond). The defendant is still required to appear at all court dates or a warrant will be issued and the process begins again.
No bail is set and the defendant must remain in jail until he/she goes to court. This is known as a "no bond hold".
If bail is set, what happens next?
After the bail amount has been set, the court usually allows a bond to be posted in three different ways: cash, property, or surety. Occasionally, a court will require that a bond be cash only - in that case that is your only choice.
Cash Bail - Cash bail means someone (usually a friend or relative) must bring the entire bail amount, plus any applicable jail fees, directly to the jail where the defendant is incarcerated. As an example, if the bail amount is set at $1000.00, then you must bring $1000.00 cash plus the jail fees to the jail. Some jails will accept credit cards. If the defendant appears for all his/her scheduled court appearances, the cash bail should be returned in full.
Property Bond - In rare cases, you might choose this option. A property bond is posted directly with the court. The court records a lien on the property to secure the entire bail amount. If the defendant fails to appear, the court has the right to foreclose on the property to recover the forfeited bail amount. Please check directly with the court as to the requirements for this type of bond. As a general rule, you must have equity of no less than 150% of the bail amount. As an example, if a bond is $50,000.00, then you must have at least $75,000.00 in equity.
Surety Bond - This is more commonly known as using a "bail bond agent", or "professional surety". The bail agent guarantees that the defendant will appear to each and every court appearance until the case is complete and the bond is exonerated, released, or discharged. For this service, the bail agent charges a fee or premium. This fee is normally non-refundable.
How much does a bail bond (surety bond) cost?
In Colorado, the bail premium/fee is 10%-15% of the bail bond amount or $75.00 minimum. Typically, on large bonds, the fee is negotiable with an approved cosigner. In addition, the bail agent may collect the bonding and booking fees charged by the jail. Most detention facilities charge between $35.00 to $50.00 per bond.
I have decided to use a bail agent, what do I need?
Basically, there are four things that a cosigner (also known as an indemnitor) needs to bail someone out of jail:
Have a valid government issued ID
Be a U.S. Citizen
Provide a current pay check stub and have been on their current job for at least two years or longer. Must be employed full time.
Must be 18 or older
How long does it take for paperwork?
It will take about 20 minutes.
How can I pay?
We accept cash,Western Union.
I don't have the full amount of the premium, can I make payment arrangements?
Yes. Please contact us, we will make payment arrangements that you can afford.
How long does it take for a person to get out of jail?
It depends on the jail and the county that the defendant was arrested in. A bail bond cannot be posted until the booking process is complete and the jail authorizes the bond to be posted. At some facilities, the bail agent must make an appointment to post the bond. Once the bond is posted, it usually takes from two to four hours to be released, but can be significantly longer depending on how busy the jail is.