When a person is charged with a crime, they are arrested. They are detained in the custody of the state. That usually means they are under arrest in jail. The accused is usually allowed a telephone call to let someone know that help is needed to arrange bail. Often the accused appears in front of a judge for arraignment. An arraignment is a preliminary trial, which is held to determine whether the police and prosecutor have enough evidence related to the offence to conduct a full trial. The judge will decide this and whether there is a danger to society or a flight risk in granting bail. Based on his assessment of the case, he will rule if the accused is eligible for bail and the amount the bail is set at.
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The friend or relative notified to post bail contacts a bail bond agent. That person co-signs a legal contract agreement with the bail bond agent. The contract guarantees that the person bailed out of jail will appear in court for as long as the Judge requires. A bond is an instrument of debt. The bail bond agent contracts to post the amount of bail set by the judge, in exchange for a percentage of the bail amount. The person arranging for bail or co-signing the bail bond agreement takes on a large financial responsibility. This is demonstrated in the bail bond contract's collateral section. The co-signer must demonstrate that he has the financial resources in the form of assets. These are pledged as collateral in the event that the person on trial fails to appear in court. The person co-signing for the bail guarantees to pay the full amount of bail, in the event the person on trial does not appear in court. The person co-signing the bail bond would also be financially responsible for all expenses incurred in the process used to find and bring back the person who fled.