Category Archives: Bail Bonds Articles

Why is Bail Constitutionally Protected?

bail 8th amendmentConstitutional protection refers to those basic protections guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution. The protection stated in the constitution is part of those protections in the Bill of Rights.

The Eighth Amendment

This amendment in the U.S. Constitution is part of the Bill of Rights. It prohibits the Federal Government from imposing excessive bail, or fines, cruel and/or unusual punishment, inclusive of torture.

While bail isn’t always a guarantee, as certain crimes it isn’t allowed per the Eighth Amendment, it’s protected by this same Amendment. It protects the people that require the bail to be released from jail to prepare their defense. Protection from excessive bail and/or fines also makes sure there are enough funds and/or collateral available to be able to pay for the defense fund if required. It’s known throughout history that paying for a defense isn’t cheap, especially with a serious charge.

Why is Bail Constitutionally Protected?

Bail is also protected by the constitution because in previous history it wasn’t. Since back in the day Sherriffs were the one to make the decision on fines and punishments, and they had a tendency to abuse their power, Parliament decided in 1275 that they would pass a statute that there would be bailable and non-bailable offenses.

Of course as always, technicalities in the laws were found and exploited keeping people imprisoned without bail even if the offense was bailable. These loopholes were eventually closed by the Habeas Corpus Act of 1679.

Finally judges were required to set bail, but then started setting impossible amounts of bail to achieve and were completely impractical. In 1689 the English Bill of Rights was adopted. However the Eighth Amendment was adopted into the Bill of Rights in 1791 and is almost identical to the English Bill of Rights of 1689. The English Bill of Rights of 1689 changed that as it stated “excessive bail ought not be required”. Although it never did describe what “excessive” meant, nor did it describe what is or isn’t a bailable offense. The Eighth Amendment has been interpreted to mean the bail should meet the offense.

Positive Effects of Bail Bonds on the Economy

Money for Everybodybail bonds economyFor most, the system of bail and bail bonds may seem like nothing more than a closed business between an agent, the court system, and any number of incarcerated individuals. But, the bail bond business actually has significant effects on the local and state economy, most of which are highly positive. Here are ways that it fuels positive economic growth that we can all enjoy.

Added Employment

Over the past few years, especially during the beginning of the economic downturn in 2007-2008, the notion of unemployment has become a hotly debated prospect, with most discussions focusing on how to create more jobs for Americans everywhere. The bail bond industry contributes to this by opening up numerous employment opportunities for Americans of all skill levels that wish to work in the criminal justice system. And as more and more jobs are created in this industry, fewer citizens will face the prospect of not having a job.

More Money for the Community 

The nature of issuing a bail bond is simple: an incarcerated individual, or often someone close to them, calls a bail bond agent, pays a certain premium, and is then offered a temporary release until their trial begins.

Have you ever imagined what would happen though, if individuals were forced to pay the full amount of the court proceedings? Countless more men and women would end up staying in jail, which would take money from taxpayers across the entire country. Also, the incarcerated must be fed, clothed, sheltered, and tended to in a humane manner and it creates huge sums of money to be allocated from other, more pressing projects. With the existence of the bail bond system, this capital is freed up, allowing it to be spent on civic projects, such as better education systems, sturdier roads, and anything else the taxpayers want.

Money Changing Hands is Good

Economists across the world have debated whether or not consumer spending is a driver of economic growth, or simply a consequence. Ultimately though, many economists concur over the fact that money changing hands in an economy is a sign of a strong economy, and should be fostered in every way possible. Because the bail bond system epitomizes this concept entirely, the growth of these endeavors are a sure sign of positive growth, and should be encouraged, as this then can have a positive effect on us all.

Bail Bonds Are Good for the Economy

Although bail bonds are an easy way for you to secure the release of a loved one, they also actually help support a growing economy for us all.

Overcrowding in Oklahoma County Jail

Almost 1,300 inmates at the Oklahoma County jail were being unlawfully held. The public defender, Bob Ravitz, has reported to the presiding judge and county commissioners that it is three to a cell. While another dozen were being held four to a cell. The routine of crowding in so many has created a great amount of overcrowding to the jail cells. This confinement is unlawful and unconstitutional. Ravitz has asked the District Judge. Don Deason, to order the release of 200 inmates who are less of a risk to public safety.

jail overcrowdingRavitz is very adamant about trying to help the situation but seems that he is getting nowhere. He believes that most of the inmates are people who are on probation violations where no new charges exist, sanctions, and low-level crimes. The judge did not immediately act on the request. He said Friday he may schedule a hearing, with the sheriff present. Deason is trying to find alternatives methods to the issue. In the official notice of unlawful conditions, Ravitz reported the jail had 2,446 inmates Wednesday, May 25. He reported a review of jail rolls Tuesday and identified 430 cells holding three inmates — a total of 1,290 inmates. There is also a disregard for their health and safety in these kinds of conditions and situations.

Sheriff John Whetsel, who oversees the jail, and said Friday, May 27, that the public defender’s notice is incorrect on the number of triple-celled inmates. There actually happened to be 250 cells that normally have two inmates. And in those 250 cells, they added a third inmate. While addressing that Ravitz was wrong in his count, Whetsel said that he does support what Ravitz is trying to do to lower the jail population. He said that it is a good thing that Ravitz is trying to get the courts to address the issues that he is seeking addressing. Also, Whetsel wanted to make sure that things looked friendly, not adversial because of the fact that he isn’t trying to be the enemy in the process, just addressing some of the problems with trying to lower the population.

When there was a jail inspection done the issue of three inmates to a cell arose most recently because of a state Health Department inspection of the jail in January. In March, health officials said the facility was in violation of Oklahoma jail standards because there were cells at the time of the inspection that were overcapacity. To help ease overcrowding, county commissioners voted May 2 to no longer hold 196 extra inmates sent from the state’s prisons.

District Attorney, David Prater, encouraged the commissioners to cancel the contract with the Corrections Department. The district attorney pointed out that the U.S. Justice Department still could take civil action against the county unless efforts are made in good faith to address problems. Proposals to build a new Oklahoma County jail have not received much support over the years. Currently, a task force of residents and officials is looking at the entire county justice system in an effort to identify ways to reduce overcrowding.

Getting Out of Jail After an Arrest

A person’s first thought upon landing in jail is often how to get out-and fast. The usual way to do this is to post bail. Bail is cash, a bond, or property that an arrested person gives to a court to ensure that he or she will appear in court when ordered to do so. If the defendant doesn’t show up, the court may keep it and issue a warrant for the defendant’s arrest.courtroom where bail is set

Getting arrested is an incredibly stressful, confusing experience, both for the person under arrest and their friends and loved ones. And, once taken to jail, there is probably just one thing on everyone’s mind: getting that person back out of jail. So, how is that done?

How Bail Is Set

Judges are responsible for setting the amount. Because many people want to get out of jail immediately (instead of waiting for a day or longer to see a judge), most jails have standard bail schedules that specify amounts for common crimes. An arrested person can often get out of jail quickly by paying the amount set forth in the stationhouse schedule.

If a suspect wants to post bail but can’t afford the amount required by the schedule, the suspect can ask a judge to lower it. Depending on the state’s procedures, a request for lowered bail may be made either in a special bail hearing or when the suspect appears in court for the first time (usually called the arraignment).

Excessive?

supreme courtThe Eighth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution requires that bail not be excessive. This means that it should not be used primarily to raise money for the government; it’s also not to be used to punish a person for being suspected of committing a crime. Remember: The primary purpose of bail is to allow the arrested person to remain free until convicted of a crime and at the same time ensure his or her return to court. (For information on what happens if the defendant doesn’t show up, see Bail Jumping.)

So much for theory. In fact, many judges set an impossibly high bail in particular types of cases, knowing that the high amount will effectively keep the suspect in jail until the case is over. (The U.S. Supreme Court has indicated that pretrial detention on the basis of dangerousness is not per se unconstitutional. (United States v. Salerno, 481 U.S. 739 (1987).)

Conditions of Bail

Bailed-out suspects commonly must comply with “conditions of release.” If a suspect violates a condition, a judge may revoke bail and order the suspect re-arrested and returned to jail. Some bail conditions, such as a requirement that a suspect “obey all laws,” are common. Other conditions may reflect the crime for which a suspect was arrested. For example, a condition may order a domestic violence suspect not to contact the alleged victim.

Beth Chapman: new president of the PBUS

Beth Chapman, co-star of A&E’s DOG THE BOUNTY HUNTER, was elected National President of the Professional Bail Agents of the United States (PBUS) February 21, 2016, at The Flamingo Hotel in Las Vegas, where the organization representing over 15,000 bail agents nationwide was holding its annual winter conference.

beth chapman

Beth Chapman

PBUS acts as the national voice of bail agents. Since its founding in 1981, PBUS and its alliance with State associations have advanced the profession through Legislative advocacy, professional networking, continuing education, support of bail agent certification, enhanced liability insurance, and development of a code of ethics.

beth and the dog

Beth and “The Dog” Chapman

Beth Chapman has made an impact on many people throughout the years and has even given up her show to pursue a new journey supporting her fellow bail agents in the fight to keep up their work. “Our show has focused on trying to make the industry better and I feel that it is time for us to put our money where our mouth is in regards to protecting our industry,” said Beth Chapman. “As we have traveled throughout the country, we have learned that our industry is under attack and our bail agents need strong and experienced leadership to protect the good work they do all across the United States.”

The decision came at a time when bail reform across the country is taking the form of totally removing cash bail systems. A recent lawsuit in beth-chapman-presidentCalifornia seeks to get rid of the cash bail system by deeming it unconstitutional, and legal actions like this have traditionally gone unchallenged by the industry. That is something Beth Chapman will change as president of PBUS. Beth has been seen as someone who has courage and has shown great conviction, strength, and determination. She has gone far and beyond a typical industry leader. When Beth speaks people listen and when she leads they follow. People have known her to be honest, direct, and unwavering in commitment towards the future of private surety bail. She is breath of fresh air that is needed in the industry as a leader in the right direction and we, Lightning Bail Bonds, definitely support the decision of Beth as president.

Justice at Oklahoma County Detention Center Reviewed

The Vera Institute of Justice is a nonpartisan, nonprofit center for justice policy and practice. They work with government leaders and community organizations nationwide as well as internationally to help improve the systems that people rely on for justice and safety by providing expertise in research, demonstration projects, and technical assistance.

oklahoma county detention center justiceVera undertook a study at the request of the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce and conducted a three-day site visit to Oklahoma City from November 17-19, 2015. During that visit, Vera staff toured the Oklahoma County Detention Center and met with representatives from the Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Office, the Oklahoma City Police Department (“OCPD”), the Oklahoma County District Attorney’s Office, the Oklahoma County Public Defender’s Office, the City of Oklahoma City Manager’s Office, the Oklahoma County Board of County Commissioners, the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services, the Oklahoma Department of Corrections, TEEM, a district judge from the Seventh Judicial Circuit, Oklahoma County Court Services, the Inasmuch Foundation, and the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce.

After completing the study, Vera, hopes that going forward they can provide a helpful framework for thinking about the following questions, which are critical to a comprehensive and impactful discussion about the purpose and use of the Oklahoma County Detention Center:

  • Who should be in your jail?
  • Who is there now?
  • Why are they there?
  • What steps can be taken to ensure that the jail holds only those who should be there?

Vera’s brief review of Oklahoma County’s local criminal justice system suggests that there are a number of potential drivers of jail population growth that could be addressed locally, with long-term impacts on the jail population. Many low-level (misdemeanant or traffic), non-violent defendants are taking up jail beds, not necessarily because anyone specifically decided that these individuals were at risk of failing to appear in court or were a threat to public safety and therefore should be in the jail. Case processing delays, which may be caused by problems with the process itself or by short staffing in many places due to budget issues and staff turnover, make those jail stays longer than they should be. There is an attempt to transfer the costs of running the system to those who pass through it, by assessing fines and fees. This is problematic, first, because that isn’t, to quote the bank robber Willie Sutton, where the money is, and, second, because the burden that it places on low-income individuals in the community may be counterproductive to the goal of improving public safety.

The data Vera reviewed on jail admissions from the OCPD was limited (and OCPD is not the only law enforcement agency responsible for jail bookings in Oklahoma County) and raise many more questions than they answer, but there are patterns that would benefit from further investigation. Many people appear to be entering the jail because of traffic violations or other low-level non-violent misdemeanors or violations, and most are spending more than a day before being released. Given the persistent overcrowding at the jail, which leads to booking and release delays, it is worth examining, first, whether the post-booking short holds for municipal violations are a worthy investment of resources. According to Oklahoma City, they have reduced arrests for municipal ordinance violations but the data suggest that there are still regular bookings for these cases. OCPD has the authority under state law (OK Code § 22-209) to use summons and release.

The task force has agreed to engage Vera for a second, more in-depth study of the county’s criminal justice system and jail, which could take seven to nine months to complete.

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What Should I Know Before I Contact A Bail Agent?

bail agentGetting mixed up with legal trouble can be scary and confusing; especially, if you are not sure of how to post bail through a bail agent or bondsman to get out. Lightning Bail Bonds is able to assist in posting bails, navigating the bail system, and help your loved ones figure out what they need to even begin this process. Lightning Bail Bonds will do what it takes to help you or a loved one get out of the trouble.

For starters, Lightning Bail Bonds bail agent needs to know specific information before they can start the process. They must know:

  1. Where is the person in custody? (This specifically means city, state, and location and name of the facility).
  2. What is the full name and booking number or date of birth of the person in jail? Lightning Bail Bonds will need this information in order to contact the jail. They can obtain the booking number if you forgot or if it was not available.
  3. How much is the bail? Our bail agent will get this information when they contact the jail if you do not have it. Once the bondsman has the bail amount, they will be able to tell you the cost and requirements to release the defendant from custody.

Having this information will be very helpful to the Lightning Bail Bondsman. With this information the beginning of the process can be simple and fast moving. After determining all the answers to these questions, and having the bail agent figure out the cost you will have to pay, you can move forward in the right direction to making sure you come out on top of whatever legal trouble you or a loved one has gotten themselves into.

Don’t make a decision you might regret.
Call our Lightning fast bail agent.
(405) 310-3020

Why Was The Bail Bond System Created?

A bail bondsman or bail bond agent is any person or corporation that will act as a surety and pledge money or property as bail for the appearance of persons accused in court. The services offered by a bondsman are made possible through various contractual agreements that are pre-set with the court systems in various states and counties where the bondsman conducts his or her business.

Stuck in jail-our bondsman can help

The bail bond system rose from common law. The posting money or property in exchange for temporary release, pending a trial, dates back to 13th century England. The modern commercial practice of bail bonds has continued to evolve in the United States; while it has since ceased to exist in most modern nation-states. The commercial practice of offering bail bonds arose out of a need to balance the playing field among the rich, middle, and poor classes when individuals were accused of a crime. It’s here to give people more options. The purpose of setting bail is to ensure that the defendant appears at trial without necessarily having to keep the defendant in custody.

According to data from the U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS), in 2009, only 38 percent of defendants in urban cities were released because they were able to meet a financial obligation. Of those released on bail, only 5 percent were able to pay the full cash amount outright. About 4 out of 5 defendants who were able to meet bail requirements; and did so by securing a surety bond known as a bail bond.

Also, according to the nonprofit Pretrial Justice Institute, 53% of those accused of felonies nationwide are unable to post bail on their own. The numbers are worse for the poorest defendants. As the Village Voice reported, 40% of bail offers made in New York in 2010 were worth less than $1,000 – but only 17% of defendants offered such bails could meet the cost. It gives poor defendants the same benefit as rich ones: freedom during trial. It saves taxpayers money that would otherwise go toward jailing costs. By sending bounty hunters after fugitives, they argued, the industry helps overburdened police departments ease their workload.