Signature Bail Bonds, Inc.

frequently asked questions (FAQs)

A monetary guarantee for the court that a defendant will appear each and every time they are ordered to do so while their case is pending.

If arrested, what are the available release options?
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 agentís 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 arresteeís appearance in court depends exclusively upon the integrity of the arrestee and his or her voluntarily returning to court.

How much will bail cost me?
Ten percent of the bail amount, except for Federal and Immigration cases, which may be as high as fifteen percent.

What is a "premium"?
A "premium" is the amount paid to a Bail Bonds company for the many services and financial risks assumed by the Bail Bonds company, on behalf of the defendant. The amount of this premium is usually 10% of the amount of the bail and is regulated by the state. This is similar to payment of any premium for an insurance policy.

Do I need Collateral?
Every case is different. Sometimes a cosigner is sufficient. Many bails are of such a high amount it only makes sense that Collateral is needed.

What can I put up for Collateral?
Anything with sufficient resale value, that you own. A vehicle, cash, even real estate may be put up based on equity.

What is and isn't good Collateral?
Anything which you own and has significant resale value is good Collateral. A house on which you pay a mortgage is considered good Collateral up to the difference between it's value and the amount you still owe on the mortgage. Note that except for a house, items which you have bought on credit and are making payments are not usually Collateral unless you hold the title (a.k.a. pink slip). e.g. A car on which you have a loan in which the lender holds the title and you make payments is not Collateral because lender has a lien on the vehicle. You may keep possession of major Collateral items (e.g. House, Boat, Cars, Motor Homes) as long as the Bail Agent holds the title (a.k.a. pink slip). Personal items of high value (e.g. jewelry, fire arms, computers, cameras, stereos) can sometimes be used as Collateral but normally must be surrendered to the Bail Agent who will hold them in a safe or other secure place. These items are normally valued at their current resale value, not what you originally paid for them.

When do I get my Collateral back?
Upon completion of the court case. This happens when:

  • The charges are dropped.
  • The person is found innocent at trial.
  • The person is sentenced at trial.

Of course, the Collateral will only be returned if there is no outstanding balance due on the Premium. The Bail Bond Agent has a fiduciary (formal legal) responsibility to safeguard all Collateral held in their possession.

Why should I use Signature Bail Bonds?
We have a sterling reputation with both our past clients and the state. We handle all of the above situations in a professional, courteous, and expedient manner. We can almost always find a way for you to be financially able to handle such an un-planned situation as needing bail usually is. We will spend the time to help you figure out Collateral to fit the needs of the bond. If something happens and the person you are sure of in the beginning does not follow through and go to court, we have network of agents nation-wide that assures a quick apprehension in almost all cases.

How long does it take to get out on Bail?
The paperwork takes approximately 30 minutes. The release time after the jail receives our paperwork is generally one hour or less for local police stations and 3-12 hours for county jails. Generally speaking, the busier the holding facility, the longer it takes.

What happens if the person does not appear in court as promised?
A bench warrant is issued for the defendant's arrest and the defendant's name will appear in police bulletins as a fugitive. Although specifics vary depending on the jurisdiction, generally the court also authorizes the Bail Agency arrest authority for the individual as well.

The Bail Agency normally calls the person's home, work, and other references to try to find the fugitive and convince them to appear. If these efforts are unsuccessful, the Agency may then search and employ Bail Bond Recovery Agents (a.k.a. Bounty Hunters) to arrest the fugitive.

From the perspective of someone who guaranteed the appearance by posting Collateral, you want to convince the fugitive to surrender himself to the police or court as soon as possible. Normally, if the fugitive is returned before actual bond payment due date to the state, you can usually get your Collateral back. Also, judges tend to get more irritated the longer a fugitive stays at large.

If the fugitive does not surrender and cannot be found by the forfeiture date, the Bail Agency pays the entire bond amount to the court and proceeds with legal action to seize and liquidate your Collateral. By law, the Bail Agency is required to refund any value received in excess of the Bail amount, minus costs, following liquidation.

Because Signature Bail Bonds has very experienced Bail Agents and Bail Bond Recovery Agents we have one of the best appearance rates in the industry. As a cosigner, you will be glad that we are good at what we do.

Are Bail Agents licensed and registered?
Yes, Bail Agents must undergo a background check, pass an examination, and obtain a license from the Washington Department of Licensing. To maintain the license, agents must attend yearly continuing education.

What does "forfeiture" mean?
A forfeiture occurs if a defendant fails to appear in court as scheduled. In this event, the Bail Bonds company has approximately sixty days (depends on county, some are as low as ten) to "surrender" the defendant to the court with no financial consequences. If this does not happen, the bond is payable to the court by the Bail Bonds company.

What does "exoneration" mean?
A bond is "exonerated" when the defendant appears in court as scheduled. This means that neither the people who supplied Collateral or the Bail Bonds company has any further financial obligation to the court in reference to the defendantís case.

Where are you located?
Our main office is located at:

Signature Bail Bonds
710 W. Evergreen Blvd.
Suite B
Vancouver, WA 98660

We have agents throughout the state of Washington with strong representation in major metropolitan areas. The best way to determine if we can serve you is to call us at 1-888-694-6008.

  © 2013 Signature Bail Bonds, Inc. | Washington State DOL# 1987