October 28, 2013 • Posted In Your Rights
The purpose of requiring a person who has been arrested to post a bond is to ensure that they will appear to answer their charges at future court dates. If you have been arrested in Georgia on a state felony or misdemeanor charge and have a bond set, there are essentially four ways to post bond for your release.
Signature Bond (also known as an Own Recognizance Bond) – The court setting your bond may allow you to be released without requiring you to pay any money or put up any property for bond to ensure your future appearance in court. In determining whether to grant a signature bond, the court may consider factors including, but not limited to, whether or not you have any prior criminal history, the nature of your charges, and your place of residence and connection to the county in which you were arrested. Additionally, if a signature bond is granted, you may be required to report to a county-run pretrial release program, which will monitor you while on bond to ensure that you appear as required and/or are complying with all conditions of bond.
Cash Bond – You may post the full amount of the bond in cash at the jail. Once the case has been completed, as long as you have appeared in court as directed, your money will be returned to you. To assist in getting your money returned, you may provide a certified copy of the final disposition to the jail office where you posted the bond.
Property Bond – In lieu of cash, you may put up your property for your bond. To do so, you will need to contact the sheriff of the county in which the property lies for the required paperwork and approval. Generally, the sheriff will require that the equity in the property must be two to three times the amount of the bond. During the pendency of your case, your property will have a lien on it from the sheriff. Once your case has been completed, as long as you have appeared in court as directed, your property will be released free and clear.
Bonding Company (also known as a bail bondsman) – If you were not given a signature bond and cannot afford to post a cash or property bond, and many people cannot, you may choose to use a bonding company to post your bond. A bonding company will charge you a fee of approximately 10% to 15% of your bond amount. The bonding company is then responsible for the remainder of your bond amount. The fee you pay to the bonding company will NOT be returned to you once your case is over. If you fail to appear in court as directed, your bonding company may seek reimbursement for the remainder of the bond amount from you.
To explore the details of the various options, you may want to explore the relevant Georgia statutes related to bond, including O.C.G.A. § 17-6-1 – § 17-6-18; § 17-6-30 – § 17-6-31; § 17-6-50 – § 17-6-58; § 17-6-90 – § 17-6-92; § 17-6-110 – § 17-6-114; and § 15-16-27. For a video that explains more about using a bonding company, check out the video on this page.
Let’s hope you never have the opportunity to use your new-found knowledge. Should it happen, though, it’s better to be familiar with the process than to face yet one more confusing challenge at what’s already guaranteed to be a stressful time.