Most of my clients have never been arrested before, and one of the very first questions they want to know is: “How do I get out of custody if I get arrested?” Most of the time they are under investigation and have never been in trouble before with the law and have no exposure to the criminal justice system. So they don’t know what a bond is. Maybe they have heard about it before, seen a billboard or an ad on TV or something in a movie, but they don’t have a clue.
A bond is something a judge sets as the amount of money that you must pay in order to secure your release from jail. It guarantees your appearance and that you are not going to flee the jurisdiction. In sex crime cases, the bonds are very high. It is not uncommon at all to have a $50,000, $100,000, or $150,000 bond. I just had a case the other day with a $300,000 bond set on the case.
Most of my clients — even though they are completely invested in their case and are willing to do whatever it takes to do the right thing — they cannot come up with $50,000 on the spot and finance their defense or $50,000 period. And the system knows that; the system knows that most people are not going to have $50,000 or $200,000. So there are different ways in which you can secure your release. You can come up with all the cash. You can pledge property, which is very complicated in Oklahoma, which rarely ever happens. Or what happens most of the time — what most of my clients do — is that they go and get a bondsman. And that bondsman will go and post a bail bond, which is basically the bondsman who is promising his or her return.
So instead of you paying $50,000, you pay the bondsman a percentage of that amount. In Oklahoma, it is typically 10%, and sometimes they will do less like 9% or 8% in a lot of case. So on a $50,000 bond, if you are looking at the stock 10%, you will be looking at having to come up with $5,000 instead of $50,000 to secure your release. The relationship with the bondsman is exclusive and different from that with the attorney. It is a completely different relationship and contract with that bondsman, and that bondsman may have additional requirements for you (e.g. that you check in with them regularly or that you have a co-signer or a collateral even to secure that pretty large bond that they are going to be on the hook for if you were to skip town.)