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THE LEGAL SYSTEM IS CONFUSING. SOMETIMES IT IS HARD TO UNDERSTAND ALL OF THE LEGAL DEFINITIONS AND TERMS USED.
Many of our clients have never been in legal trouble before. From the time the defendant is arrested and up until the case has been resolved, you will hear many terms and phrases that confuse you. Below you will find a list of frequently used words and their terms many of our bail agents will use when conducting bail bond transactions:
Arrest. By way of action of a policing agency, to take a person into custody wherein they are charged with the commission of a crime.
Arrest Warrant. A warrant that is issued by a Magisterial District Justice or Judge authorizing the arrest and detention of an individual.
Bail. Money deposited or pledged to a court in order to release a defendant from jail. A defendant must return for trial or forfeit the bail. No matter whether the person is found guilty of the crime accused, monies paid to a bail bondsman are non-refundable.
Bail Bondsman. A bail bondsman is a person or company that acts as a surety and pledges money to the Court as bail for the appearance of a criminal defendant in court. A surety bail bondsman must be licensed by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Department of Insurance.
Bounty Hunter. An individual who seeks out fugitives for a fee paid by the bail company in order to capture, detain and return the defendant back to the court in which he/she failed to appear. Once captured, the bounty hunter returns the defendant to prison.
Cash Bond. When a defendant must provide the amount of the bail to the court.
Collateral. Co-signor or defendant assets which are pledged for the payment of the full amount of the bail if the defendant fails to appear in court and is declared a fugitive from justice. This collateral guarantees repayment to the bail company in such circumstances.
Defendant. Any person who is arrested and required to answer the complaint of a plaintiff. One who has been formally charged or accused of violating a criminal statute.
Fugitive. A person who is fleeing from custody, whether it be from a government arrest, government or non-government questioning, vigilante violence, or outraged private individuals.
Lien - A lien is a claim upon property by when the property owner is in debt. In such a situation, a bail bonding agency may take out a lien on a defendant's property to ensure that the defendant completes his or her legal obligation. The defendant will remain ownership of the property during this time.
Posting Bail - When a defendant is given the opportunity to get out of jail on bail, the defendant will "post bail" when he or she supplies the court with the full bail amount. Many defendants use the services of a bail bonding agency to post the full amount of bail required to be released from custody.
Sentence. -A judges formal declaration of the punishment to be given to a person convicted of a crime.
Suspect. A person, known or unknown, suspected of committing a crime.
Trial. The presentation of information in a formal setting, usually a court
Verdict. The final decision of a jury or judges on a case before a court of law.
Willful Act - An intentional act carried out without justifiable cause.
Witness - Person who testifies under oath before a court, regarding what he/she has seen, heard or otherwise observed.
Writ - A special, written court order directing a person to perform, or refrain from performing, a specific act.
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