What is bail? Bail is the security or other guarantee required and given for the release of a person (defendant) from custody, conditioned upon a written undertaking in the form of a bail bond. Bail may be required for appearance of a material witness or a fugitive from justice.
What is a bail authority? A bail authority (commonly known as a bondsman) is the individual who has jurisdiction over the case regarding bail. In cases where the bail is under supervision of Pre-Trial Services, they are added as a bail authority along with the bondsman.
Am I responsible as bondsman should the defendant fail to appear as required? Yes. In all bail cases where a bondsman guarantees through the posting of bail that a defendant shall appear at all required hearings, a bondsman and the defendant are jointly and severally bound for the entire amount of set bail. In cases where the amount of bail is posted through Pre-Trial Services as percentage cash bail, the bondsman and defendant are responsible for the entire amount of bail set. For instance, the court directs that defendant may be released upon posting the sum of $1,000.00 through Pre-Trial Services as a 10% bond. Although at the time the bail is posted, the amount of $100.00 is paid to the Clerk of Courts plus the required filing fees, should defendant fail to appear for any scheduled court proceeding and the bond is forfeited, the entire $1,000.00 is due to Beaver County.
How long is the bail bond valid? The bail bond shall be valid until full and final disposition of the case including all avenues of direct appeal to Supreme Court, excluding state post-conviction proceedings, federal appeals and post-conviction habeas corpus proceedings.
What may I use as bail collateral? One or more of the following monetary conditions shall be accepted to satisfy the full amount, conditioned upon the court's approval:
a.) U. S. Currency
b.) Realty located with Commonwealth of Pennsylvania so long as actual net value is at least equal to amount of bond.
In instances where real estate is being used as collateral, all parties whose name appears on the deed must appear in person to sign the bail bond. Also, the bondsman must contact Lawyers Abstract Service to conduct a thorough investigation of the property being used. You should contact Lawyers Abstract Services directly, for cost of this investigation. The Court will have the final say in whether or not the realty is approved for bail.
c.) Surety bond of a licensed professional bondman or of a surety company authorized to do business in Pennsylvania and in Beaver County. The Clerk of Courts Office maintains a list of those qualifying individuals.
How long does it take to post bail? Any time you wish to post bail, there are numerous procedures which must be followed. Allow your self a minimum of three hours in order for this office and for Pre-Trial Services to handle your request. Most times the entire procedure should take approximately one hour; however, since there is paperwork to be completed, contact with the jail to insure no other detainers are lodged against an individual prior to release, and written confirmation of this information required to be returned to this office, delay is entirely possible. You may be assured, the Clerk of Courts Office will act in the most efficient, effective, and expedient manner possible.
Who can act as bondsman? Any individual may act as a bondsman with the following exceptions: (As stated in Pa.R.Crim.P. 4007)
a.) No attorney, or spouse or employee of any attorney, shall be permitted to become a surety for a client of the attorney or for a client of the attorney's office
b.) No sheriff, employee of a sheriff, tipstaff, other employee, or official of the courts or issuing authority of any judicial district shall be permitted to become a surety unless the defendant is a member of that person's immediate family.
c.) No person who is named in any current official list of undesirable bondsmen shall be permitted to become a surety in any case.
For a list of Bail Bondsmen licensed in Beaver County, please click here.