When a person/defendant is arrested, the court may set a bail amount, which is a fee the defendant can pay to the court for temporary release from jail pending a court appearance. If the defendant is able to pay bail, the defendant is released from jail and is required to appear in court on a specified date.
One option for getting released from jail is to purchase a bail bond. A bail bond is basically an insurance policy that guarantees the full amount of the bail to the court should the defendant fail to appear on the specified court date.
A bail agent is required to be licensed by the Department of Insurance. If you are purchasing a bail bond, be sure you are working with a licensed bail agent.
Bail Bond Transactions
At the time of a bail transaction, the defendant and/or the co-signer should expect to receive copies of the bail bond transaction documentation. That documentation should include:
- the bail contract
- premium receipts
- collateral receipts
- any documents related to the defendant and/or co-signer at the time of the bail transaction
Collateral for a Bail Bond
Collateral is any property given as security to obtain a bail bond. A bail agent is allowed to, and may, ask for collateral to secure a bail bond.
However, the value of the collateral should not be an excessive amount in relation to the amount of the bond. The bail agent should provide a receipt that includes a full and detailed accounting of the collateral to the person from whom the collateral was received.
Once the obligation to pay the bond has been discharged, collateral should be returned within 14 days of notice that the obligation is discharged.
Bail Bond Premium
Bail bond premium may be financed. A written agreement, signed by all parties, is required if bail bond premium is being financed and interest must also be charged. The written agreement should contain the following information:
- names of the parties entering into the credit agreement
- bail bond power number
- court case number
- amount of premium financed
- per annum rate of interest
- scheduled premium payment dates
- signatures and dates of signatures of all parties entering into the credit agreement
If a premium payment is missed, the bail agent may surrender the defendant to custody before the defendant’s scheduled court appearance; however, this must clearly be written in the credit agreement.
If a bail agent surrenders a defendant for good cause before the defendant’s scheduled court appearance, the bail agent may not collect any unpaid premium for the bail bond.
Bail Bond Solicitation
Bail agents may use a variety of methods to solicit business; however, bail agents should not solicit bail in any courthouse or any court facility.
Soliciting bail in a courthouse is addressed in the Statewide Guidelines for the Uniform Administration of Bail and Bail Bonds in All Trial Courts of the State of Idaho. Notify the court if you are aware of a bail agent soliciting in an Idaho courthouse, as it is up to each court to enforce the no soliciting guidelines.
Bail Bond Tips
- Read all documents you receive from the bail agent for each bail transaction before signing anything.
- Ask for copies of all documents you sign related to the bail transaction.
- Ask for detailed receipts for any money paid for premium and/or collateral for each bail transaction.
- Ask for detailed receipts for all property given to the bail agent for collateral related to each bail transaction.
- Contact Consumer Affairs at the Idaho Department of Insurance if you have any questions or concerns regarding a bail bond transaction.
Have more questions?
Contact the Consumer Affairs team: