Difference Between Secured and Unsecured Bonds
Few people look at their lives and assume they’ll be behind bars at some point. Yet here we are, with one-third of American adults having been arrested on felony charges at least once.
If you or a loved one find yourself in need of a bail bond, you may have an option of a secured vs unsecured bond. What does this mean and which one should you choose?
What Is a Secured Bond?
When you get a secured bond, you put up collateral to guarantee the bond. If you skip out on your future court appearances, you will lose that collateral. Think of this as a secured loan like a mortgage.
One of the most common options for a secured bond is to put up your home as collateral. You could do the same with your vehicle or other assets.
Secured loans present a lower risk to the bondsman. If you skip bail, they aren’t left on the hook for your bond amount. Of course, it transfers the risk to you because you stand to lose all your collateral.
What Is an Unsecured Bond?
Think of an unsecured bond as a loan that doesn’t have collateral, like a student loan. If you don’t appear for future court appearances, you’ll owe the full amount of your bail.
An unsecured bond has a lower risk factor for you because there is no collateral for the court or the bondsman to seize if you skip bail. Rest assured that they will come after you to collect the money, though, through collection agencies or lawsuits.
Secured vs Unsecured Bond: Choosing One for Your Case
If you or a loved one is in the midst of a court case and you need to get a bail bond, is a secured or unsecured bond the way to go? There are several pros and cons to think about for each.
Secured Bonds are Easier to Get
It should come as no surprise that your bail bondsman is more likely to give you a secured bond than an unsecured bond. An unsecured bond comes with a far higher risk factor for them.
Each bail bond agency has its own criteria. However, to get an unsecured bond, you usually need great credit and no history of skipping bail in the past. You may also need to prove that you have the finances to pay the bond if necessary, like steady employment.
Unsecured Bonds May Cost More
For anyone to take a risk on a deal, it has to give them high rewards to make up for the risk. As a result, you may pay more for an unsecured bond because it carries a higher risk for the bondsman.
Keep in mind that the fee you need to pay the bondsman is typically set by the state. In Connecticut, the maximum price is 10% of the first $5,000 and 7% for any amount above $5,000.
In other words, assume your bail is set to $20,000. You’d need to pay 10% of the first $5,000 which is $500. Then you’d pay 7% of the remaining $15,000, which is $1,050, so the total would be $1,550.
Those percentages reflect the highest amount you could pay. You may pay less, especially for a secured bond.
Secured Bonds Have a Higher Risk for You
Many people prefer unsecured bonds if they can get them because they have a lower risk factor. With a secured bond, you could lose your home or other collateral as soon as your grace period ends after you fail to appear in court.
No one wants to deal with collection agencies or lawsuits either, which could happen if you skip out on your unsecured bond. At least you wouldn’t lose the roof over your head, though.
Getting the Details
When it comes down to it, no two bail bonds are the same. The only way to know your specific options for your bail bond is to call a bail bonds agency in Bridgeport, CT.
Based on your specific circumstances, your credit history, and your collateral, they’ll give you the details of your bond options.
An Important Note: Secured and Unsecured Bond vs Secured and Unsecured Bail
As you research the topic bail bonds, it’s important not to make a common mistake. You’ll see the terms secured and unsecured bond as well as secured and unsecured bail. Do not mix up these terms.
When you’re arrested and arraigned, the judge will give you either secured or unsecured bail. If you get unsecured bail, it’s the same as being released on your own recognizance. You don’t need to put up any money to be released.
If the judge sets a specific bail amount, it means you have secured bail. In this case, putting up your bail amount is meant to incentivize you to return for your court appearances. It gives the court extra “security” beyond the thread of charging you with failure to appear in court.
There is also the possibility you won’t get any bail at all, so you need to remain in jail until your trial is over. This is typically the case with serious crimes or people with a history of “failure to appear” charges.
Secured and unsecured bond refers to the agreement you have with the bail bonds agency. These are the terms we’ve been discussing in this blog.
Getting Back Your Freedom with Secured or Unsecured Bail Bonds
Understanding the differences between a secured vs unsecured bond is only the first step. You choose the best option for you, contact our bail bonds agency in Bridgeport, CT to discuss your specific needs. To get more details you need about your case or your charges, check out our court record resources as well.