Paying bail bonds in Cook County can be confusing and overwhelming, especially for those living paycheck to paycheck. At a time when many people are facing unexpected delays in income, having a criminal defense attorney by your side can make the bail bonds process easier. Lawyers can mean the difference between awaiting trial in a jail cell and awaiting trial at home. Contact Richard at Fenbert and Associates at 630-917-2051 for a free consultation today.
What is a bail bond?
Bail is an amount of money a defendant must pay the court to prove they’ll show up for trial. Bail can be paid by the defendant or by someone else on the defendant’s behalf (as long as it isn’t their lawyer). The state of Illinois doesn’t allow the use of bondsmen, either. Bail amounts depend on these factors:
- How severe the charge is
- How likely the defendant is to flee the state
- How likely the defendant is to commit additional crimes
- Whether the crime was violent or nonviolent
Bonds are like down payments on bail. If you’re charged with a crime and you cannot afford to pay your bail in its entirety, different bonds allow you to pay a portion up front. You also have to sign an agreement stating you’ll show up for any and all court appearances. Sometimes, a judge will add more rules to a bond, on top of the fee. Common rules include:
- No contact with an alleged victim
- Relinquishing any firearms
- Undergoing a psychological evaluation
- Sticking to a curfew
If the additional bond rules are violated, the defendant is sent back to jail. Note: The same factors used to determine bail amounts apply to bond amounts.
Why do bonds exist?
Bonds exist as a way to ensure defendants show up for their court dates without requiring everyone who is charged with a crime to stay in jail between their hearing and their trial. You don’t want to hang in jail until trial time? Pay that bond.
As long as a defendant satisfies all rules of their bond, they get back most of the money they paid for it. The court typically keeps 10% as an administrative fee. This is true whether the defendant is found guilty or innocent.
Types of bonds in Illinois
In Illinois, there are three types of bonds:
- I-Bond: Also called an individual bond, this one is just a signed agreement between the defendant and the court. If your lawyer secures an I-Bond, you are released on your own personal recognizance and owe no money.
- D-Bond: These bonds require defendants to pay 10% of the bail amount decided by the judge.
- C-Bond: These bonds require defendants to pay the full bail amount to be released until trial.
Clearly, an I-Bond is the ideal outcome of a bond hearing. Appearing at a bond hearing with a criminal defense attorney can increase the chances of securing an I-Bond. Why? Because attorneys can effectively communicate details that impact the bail and bond factors listed above.
For instance, if a defendant’s entire family and social network live locally, this decreases the likelihood they’ll flee the state before trial. If it’s a defendant’s first offense on an otherwise clean record, the likelihood they’ll commit more crimes before trial is low. Remember, the severity of the crime is always taken into account when determining bond. But these other factors also play large parts.
How much do bail bonds cost?
Judges determine how much a bond will cost a defendant during a bond hearing. Everyone charged with felony crimes attend bond hearings. Certain misdemeanor charges or outstanding warrants could also result in a bond hearing.
Someone charged with a less serious crime could be looking at $100 to $500. A 2019 ruling from the Illinois Supreme Court capped bail fees for certain crimes like traffic and petty offenses at $100, though every case is different. Illinois Statute 725 ILCS 5/110-5 outlines this in greater detail.
It’s worth noting that criminal defense attorneys come in particularly handy at this point in the process. They are able to advocate on behalf of the defendant if the bond amount is so high the defendant can’t afford to pay it.
How to pay a bail bond
Illinois accepts cash, credit cards, and cashier’s or certified checks as payment for bonds. No money orders or personal checks are allowed. There’s an additional 2.13% processing fee for credit cards and a valid ID is required. Payment must be made in person at the Cook County Jail (Division Five), at 2700 South California.
If you or someone you know has recently been charged with a crime and is concerned about posting bond, contact Richard at Fenbert and Associates for a free consultation.