Surety Bonds in Iowa
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How Bail Works
Surety Bonds in Iowa

Posting of a bail bond. This process involves a contractual undertaking guaranteed by a bail agent and the individual posting bail. The bail agent guarantees to the court that the defendant will appear in court each and every time the judge requires them to.

For this service, the defendant is charged a percentage of the bail amount. Before being released, the defendant or a relative or friend of the defendant, typically contacts a bail agent to arrange for the posting of bail. Prior to the posting of a bail bond, the defendant or a co-signer must guarantee that they will pay the full amount of bail if the defendant does not appear in court.

Typically, a family member or a close friend of the defendant will post bail and cosign. Collateral is not always required for a person to be bailed from jail. Often a person can be bailed from jail on the signature of a friend or family member. Cosigners typically need to be working and either own or rent a home in the same area for some time.

After an agreement is reached, the bail agent posts a bond for the amount of the bail, to guarantee the defendantís return to court.

If the defendant "skips", the cosigner is immediately responsible for the full amount of the bail. If the defendant is located and arrested by the bail agent the cosigner is responsible for all expenses the bail agent incurs while looking for the defendant.

The four basic release options available to an arrestee are, surety bond, release on his or her own recognizance (O.R.), release on citation ("Cite Out"), and cash bail.

Cash Bond

To be released on cash bail, an individual must post with the court the total amount of the bail, in cash, to secure his or her return to court on an appointed date, and thereafter until the case is concluded. Full cash bonds provide a powerful incentive for defendants to appear at trial. If the defendant shows up for his/her scheduled court appearances, the cash is returned to him/her. If s/he fails to appear or doesnít pay fines, the cash bond is forfeited to the court. Iowa Bail Bonds will post a cash bond for a fee.

Surety Bond

An alternative to cash bail is the posting of a surety bond. This process involves a contractual undertaking guaranteed by an admitted insurance company having adequate assets to satisfy the face value of the bond. The bail agent guarantees to the court that they will pay the bond forfeiture if a defendant fails to appear for their scheduled court appearances. The bail agent's guarantee is made through a surety company and/or by the pledge of property owned by the agent.

For this service, the defendant is charged a premium. To be released pursuant to the posting of a surety bond, the arrestee, or a relative or friend of the arrestee, typically contacts a bail agent, an individual licensed by the State of Iowa to post surety bonds. Prior to the posting of a surety bond, the bail agent undertakes a detailed interview of the proposed guarantor of the surety bond, as well as of the arrestee and relatives of the arrestee, as part of the underwriting procedure for bond.

By involving the family and friends, as well as through the acceptance of collateral, the bail agent can be reasonably assured that an individual released on surety bond will appear at his or her appointed court date, as required until the case is adjudicated.

After this procedure is concluded, if an agreement is reached, the bail agent posts a bond for the amount of the bail, to guarantee the arrestee's return to court.

With his money on the line, a bail agent has a financial interest in supervising bailees, and ensuring that they appear for trial. If a defendant "skips," the bail agent has time and the financial incentive to find him/her and bring him/her in. Significantly, commercial bail bond agents profit only when the defendant shows up for trial. Judges acknowledge that bail agents have highly efficient methods to get defendants to court.

Own Recognizance (O.R.)

Another method of release pending trial is through a county or law enforcement administered pre-trial release program. Usually, the staff members of these programs interview individuals in custody and make recommendations to the court regarding release of these individuals on their own recognizance (i.e., without any financial security to insure the interviewee's return).

The interview process is often conducted over the telephone, with little inquiry to the individual's background to determine whether the detainee is likely to appear in court and with virtually no verification of information provided by the detainee. Since no money or bond is posted to secure the detainee's appearance in court, he or she faces no personal economic hardship from his or her conscious failure to appear.

Citation Release

This procedure, known as the "Cite Out," involves the issuance of a citation by the arresting officer to the arrestee, informing the arrestee that he or she must appear at an appointed court date.

The Cite Out usually occurs immediately after an individual is arrested. As a consequence of the failure to follow complete booking procedures, the true identity and background of most individuals released on citation is never established. This results in the release of numerous arrestees who may have outstanding bench warrants pending or who may present a significant danger to society.

Accordingly, in these cases involving Cite Outs, the arrestee may never be placed in custody, and like the own recognizance release, such an arrestee's appearance in court depends exclusively upon the integrity of the alleged felon and his or her voluntarily returning to court.

Quick Bail Instructions

You've just learned a friend or loved one is being held. Follow these steps to get him or her bailed out:

1. Get All The Information
• Be sure about which jail he or she is in.
• If you are not aware, then use our inmate information
• Is it a county, city, or federal facility?.
• What is the booking number?
• What is the charge?
• Have the person's full legal name.
• Try to determine the date of birth, if possible.

Try to find out how much the Bail amount is. Bail Bond Agencies are normally required by law to collect 10% of the Bail set as a Premium. You will have to pay this amount or arrange financing with us to assemble the funds. Cash, credit cards, and checks are just some of the ways in which we help our clients assemble the funds needed.

The Bail Bond Agency guarantees the full amount of the Bail to the Court as guarantee that the person will appear. You may be required to guarantee that appearance by providing collateral for the entire bond amount. Therefore, try to know what collateral property you could provide (e.g. House or other property of value).

2. Call Iowa Bail Bonds at (515) 243-4411 or 1-800-732-6108.

The Bail Agent will ask you some basic questions relating to who, what, where, and why the person is in custody. The Agent will also ask you questions about the personal history of the person being held such as where they work, previous arrests, time in current residence.

3. Stay Home, Stay Calm, and Be Ready For Phone Calls

Go to your home or other place where you can stay for a while and receive telephone calls. We will probably need to contact you several times. Be sure you know the telephone number where you are staying. Try to have access to a fax machine or the number to one you can access (e.g. the local Kinko's fax number, a friend who has a fax, etc.)

In most jurisdictions, only a licensed Bail Bond Agent can post bail. Also, persons who have just been arrested and are being processed are usually not eligible to see visitors for several hours. You may come to our office directly at 200 4th Street Des Moines Iowa if you wish. It is always better to call ahead at (515) 243-4411 or 1-800-732-6108.

Try to remain Calm, we are working on your situation as fast as the law allows. Iowa Bail Bonds will next call the facility where the person is being held and determine exact bail information and develop a plan to get the person released. A Bail Agent will call you as soon as this determination is made to discuss the plan and make Bail arrangements with you. Remember, many jurisdictions (especially those in major metropolitan areas) are very slow in processing and often have their telephone lines overloaded with calls...

Consumer Tips:

Warning: It does not make us proud to advise you there are some bail agencies in the community who will take advantage of unknowing consumers. We are proud to say that most bail agencies are honest and fair with the public. Some are not. It is to your advantage to protect yourself and your family by following a few simple bail bonds consumer tips.

1. Make sure you only deal with a licensed bail agent. Ask to see the bail agentís license and identification prior to any bail transaction.

2. Make sure the bail agent charges you only legal rates. The premium charged for a bail bond in normally 10% of the full bail amount. Any additional charges should be itemized and explained to your satisfaction.

3. Make sure you are given itemized receipts for all charges.

4. Make sure you are given copies of all signed contracts and agreements.

5. If financing is provided, make sure you understand the terms of the financing agreement prior to signing and be sure you are given copies of anything you sign.

6. Make sure the bail agent you contract with will be available to you after the bail bond has been posted. Part of what you pay for is service. Any professional bail agent will be available for questions or concerns throughout the entire process.

As an informed bail bond consumer, you will have the tools necessary to make the right decisions. Make sure you feel comfortable with the bail agent you choose. Go by your gut instinct. If it feels right, it probably is. If it doesn't feel right, walk away and call someone else.

We at Iowa Bail Bonds pride ourselves on being professional, straight forward and honest. For immediate assistance, please feel free to contact us 24 hours a day at (800) 732-6108 or in the Des Moines area call (515) 243-7797.

Helpful Links


The resources listed above are provided for your information only. Iowa Bail Bonds does not endorse any specific programs or companies. We suggest that you routinely check references and always use good judgment and discretion when selecting any of the resources provided. Accordingly, we cannot be held liable for the accuracy of this information, nor for the quality of services rendered.

Surety Bonds in Iowa is our focus. We work hard to provide the best Surety Bonds in Iowa. Why deal with others when our Surety Bonds in Iowa are clearly the choice you need to make to help yourself or loves ones. Surety Bonds in Iowa are the key to setting your loved ones free. Iowa bail bons is your key to the jail door - we are your Surety Bonds in Iowa super-dealer.