Bail is money paid to the court to ensure that an arrested person who is released from jail will show up at all required court appearances.
You may post bail for yourself, have someone over 18 years old post it on your behalf or use a bondsman. The person posting bail for you assumes full responsibility for your appearance in court. If you fail to appear as required, a warrant will be issued for your immediate arrest and the bail will be forfeited.
A Cash bond is just that, it may only be paid with Cash. If you appear for trial or the charges are disposed of before trial, the amount posted will be refunded. If you do not appear, all cash posted will be forfeited.
Property (e.g. land or home) may be used to post bail, provided that the net equity in the property meets or exceeds the amount of bail. To determine net equity deduct any liens, mortgages or deeds of trust, and ground rent, capitalized at 6 percent, from the assessed value of the property.
When posting property, you need to present tax bills, assessment notices, copies of a recorded deed or other public records. Each person whose name appears on the tax bill must sign the form, unless a power of attorney has been executed by one or both parties authorizing another signature.
Acceptable intangible assets include:
- Bankbooks and certificates of deposit accepted at 100 percent of stated value
- Letters of credit from a bank
- Certificates for stocks listed on the American or New York Stock Exchange, accepted at 75 percent of the present exchange quotation.
Only a clerk of the court may accept intangible assets; a commissioner may not. Present the required documents to a clerk at the court location where the case is pending.
Bail may be charged on certain credit and debit cards. Although a commissioner or clerk accepts the card, an independent company processes the charge. The charge includes the full amount of the bail and a service fee. These charges will appear on your next credit or debit card statement. The card and personal identification must be produced in person at the time of posting bail. (Contact a District Court commissioner or clerk for information on cards accepted and the fees charged.)
A bail bondsman charges a non refundable fee to post bail. In addition to the fee, the bondsman may require collateral security or property to secure your release. Collateral will be returned to the person who posted it after disposition of the charges. The service fee and collateral received must be displayed on the bail bond form (Maryland). Make certain that the information is correct on the form, that you receive a receipt and that you understand the action the bondsman may take if you fail to meet your obligations.