Cornel A. Williams, Attorney at Law
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Understanding Federal Bail Bonds

There are different procedures involved for bail bonds out of state court and for federal bail bonds, which originate in federal district court. If you have been arrested on a federal criminal charge, and you don’t have the resources to pay for your bail, you must first be certain that any bail bond company you use is familiar with federal bail bonds.

What to Expect with Federal Bail Bonds

  • Judge sets bail. Just as in state court, a federal judge has the discretion to set bail on a federal criminal charge. Expect a much higher bond in federal court than in state court, according to bond experts.
  • Defendant pays more. Because of the greater complexity and risk involved with federal bail bonds, the defendant generally pays a 15 percent fee instead of the 10 percent fee for state or local bonds. The bail bonds company will then seek collateral to cover the rest of the bond amount. Depending on the crime, federal bail can be hundreds of thousands of dollars or even more. Many federal bail bonds company will look for collateral worth 150 percent of the amount being secured.
  • Additional hearing. The federal court judge or a magistrate will hold a hearing to make sure that the money or property a defendant is using to post bail is not the fruit of a criminal endeavor. Known as a Nebbia hearing, the defendant must prove to prosecutors that the money or property being used legitimately comes from savings or other proper sources. If the government suspects that money for bail comes from a criminal enterprise, the bail will be denied.

Experience is Important with Federal Bail Bonds

While it’s always important to find a bail bondsman who has been on the job awhile and is familiar with all aspects of the industry, it is particularly important to find a bail bonds company with experience in federal court if you find yourself charged with a federal crime. The procedure is slightly different and a bail bonds company can help with the proof required that the money or property to pay for the bond came from a legitimate source. A company without experience in federal bail bonds can unnecessarily delay the process, meaning you might wait longer than you have to in jail before being released.