Posting Bail in North Carolina

posting bail

When someone is arrested for a criminal charge in North Carolina there is usually a lot of different processes going on at the same time, this mass of action can be very confusing and it is easy to miss the specific details of each and every step during the arrest and booking process. One of the most important processes that will play out in this early stage of most criminal cases is the setting of a bond.

What is a bond?

Bond is the process used to secure the defendant’s attendance at all future court proceedings. There are several different types of bond in North Carolina, the most common are:

  1. A written promise to appear: Generally used in less serious criminal situations for people who have no record and are not a flight risk. There is no kind of monetary collateral or guarantee made by the defendant when a written promise is given as the bond.
  2. Unsecured Bond: This kind of bond requires a monetary guarantee or promise from the defendant. However, it does not require the defendant or their family to make any payments or put any money up, only to give the guarantee that they will pay the amount of the bond if they miss court.
  3. Secured Bond: This type of bond requires the defendant to put up some kind of financial instrument or money to secure their release from pretrial detention. This is generally where bail bond companies are used to assist in the securing of a defendant’s release.
  4. Cash Bond: Also called a “C Bond” this is the most serious kind of bond in the North Carolina System. A cash bond requires the defendant to come up with the entire amount of the bond set forth in order to secure their release. Most bail bond companies will not assist defendants with cash bonds.

How do I post bail?

If you or a loved one were given a written promise or an unsecured bond, you will not have to post any money or find a bondsman. Instead, the defendant who was issued either a written promise or unsecured bond will simply need to fill out some paperwork and wait for it to be processed and their release to follow. If the defendant was given a cash bond they will need to come up with the entire amount of the bond and turn that over to the county that is holding the defendant in custody.

The more complex process is what happens if the defendant is issued a secured bond. If the secured bond is set low enough for the defendant or a loved one to be able to cover, they are able to post the secured bond themselves and be released. If the secured bond is set at an amount that the Defendant cannot cover, they are able to hire a bondsman to assist in securing their release. When you hire a bondsman in North Carolina they generally charge between 10-15% of the total amount to secure their services. Once you hire a bondsman, they will go to the facility holding the defendant and use a secured instrument from the surety (or insurance company) they represent to secure the defendant’s release.

Do I get my money back?

It depends. If you paid the bond, either a cash bond or secured bond, yourself and you did not use the assistance of a bondsman you can get your money back at the disposition of your case, so long as no bond forfeiture was issued for failing to appear at court. If you used a bondsman, no you will not get your money back. The 10-15% you paid the bondsman is payment for their services rendered, you will generally not get that money back at the conclusion of your case.

What happens when I post bail?

So long as there are no other legal matters securing your incarceration, you will be released. However, even if you are placed on some level of pretrial release, you will stop earning credit towards any potential sentence.

If you have any questions about bond or the bond system in North Carolina contact us today.