Bail FAQ

How do Bail Bonds Work?

A: Bail is used to release a defendant for money. The money is used as an assurance that the defendant will make it to their court dates. Since some trials can take a long time, the Bail Bonds System permits a possibly innocent defendant from waiting for their court date in a jail.


What is the Bail Process?

A: When arrested, people are usually moved to a law enforcement building where they are “booked”. This involves documenting the crime that allegedly has happened and personal information about the suspect. During booking, they will take a photo and fingerprint the suspect. They run a background check on the suspect and hold any of the suspect’s personal property which is returned to the suspect when released. The officers usually will allow the suspect to make a phone call. After booking, the suspect is incarcerated in a county jail or a pol;ice station facility. With crimes not deemed serious, the suspect can usually post bail immediately. In cases of more serious crimes, the suspects will have to wait for a bail hearing. At the hearing, a judge will decide if the suspect may be released on bail and the amount.

Bail is based on the suspect’s flight chance and the crime accused. A criminal history, or having not shown up for court appearances may affect a judge’s decision about the bail amount. A judge will also consider if they believe the suspect to be a risk to others, work history and the nature of the crime.  Bail is at the judge’s discretion, although some counties will have bail schedules, which sets a standard bail for certain crimes.


If arrested, what are the available release options?

A: There are five release options available: cash bond, surety bond, property bond, own recognizance (O.R.), and citation release.

Cash Bond: To be released on cash bail, someone must post with the court the total amount of the bail, in cash. The purpose of this is to secure his or her return to court on an appointed date, and thereafter until the case is concluded. If the defendant shows up for his/her scheduled court appearances, the cash is returned to him/her, minus any court fees and fines. If s/he fails to appear, the cash bond is forfeited to the court.

Surety Bond: An alternative to cash bail is the posting of a surety bond (Bail 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.

Property Bond: In rare cases an individual may obtain release from custody by means of posting a property bond with the court. Here the court records a lien on property, to secure the bail amount. If the arrestee subsequently fails to appear at the scheduled court date, the court may institute foreclosure proceedings against the property to obtain the forfeited bail amount.

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).

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. Such an arrestee’s appearance in court depends exclusively upon the integrity of the arrestee and his or her voluntarily returning to court.

How do you Post Bond?

A: Once the amount of the bond is decided, the suspect usually can be released if they post the bond in cash or assets. If the accused person does not have the money or the assets to pay for bond, they can apply to a Bail Bondsman like A Plus Bail Bonds.  The bondsman will take 10% of the bond amount and will supply the rest of the money so that the suspect can leave jail. The 10% fee amount is the same for all Bond Companies in Washington State and is set by the State Government.


Which Washington Counties do you provide Bail Bonds for?

A: Here is the county list.  We cover every county in Washington State: Adams, Asotin, Benton, Chelan, Clallam, Clark, Columbia, Cowlitz, Douglas, Ferry, Franklin, Garfield, Grant, Grays Harbor, Island, Jefferson, King, Kitsap, Kittitas, Klickitat, Lewis, Lincoln, Mason, Okanogan, Pacific, Pend Oreille, Pierce, San Juan, Skagit, Skamania, Snohomish, Spokane, Stevens, Thurston, Wahkiakum, Walla Walla, Whatcom, Whitman and Yakima.


Where can I find the Bail Bond Laws?

A:  Bail Bond Laws