How do bonds work?

Here is an example: Bob gets arrested for a crime and is brought before the Magistrate (Judge) by the arresting officer. The Magistrate sets a Bond amount related to the offense and security of the public at large. In this case, it will be a $1,500 bond.

That bond can be posted by the full cash amount, securing the bond by a piece of real property, or by hiring a professional Bondsman (Me!), or any combination of these options. By state statue, I can charge up to 15%, which in this case would be $225. The defendant is released to my custody and it becomes my responsibility to be sure that they attend all court dates until the case is finished. If they run away and cannot be recovered, I must pay the court the total of $1,500 back for the bond I posted. If they make all of their court dates, my liability on the bond is finished and I owe the court nothing. The $225 fee is retained by the company to cover all expenses related to posting the bond and monitoring the case until it is over.

In many instances, cases can take up to 2 years or more to finish.