State vs. Federal Bail

State Bail Bonds vs. Federal Bonds

Even though they are often confused, Federal bonds and State bail bonds are two very different entities. While State bail bonds allow an accused person to leave custody prior to their trial, and are regulated by their respective county’s bail schedule, Federal bonds are not.

If someone has been accused, and charged of a federal crime, they must appear before a Magistrate before a bail will be set, if at all.  A Magistrate’s authority includes being able to release a defendant on their own recognizance, set an unrestricted bail, set a bail with conditions, or refuse bail altogether. Some of the conditions that could be attached to a restricted bail include, mandatory drug and/or alcohol testing, travel restrictions or bans, and sometimes even medical or psychiatric evaluations. Federal bonds do not have a set bail schedule like State Bail bonds do, as a Federal bond is set at the total discretion of the Magistrate. It is for this reason that Federal bonds tend to be of a much higher value than State bail.

There are currently over 4,500 crimes that can result in federal prosecution. Some examples of these are:

  • Kidnapping
  • Bank Robbery
  • Organized Crime
  • Importing Illegal Drugs
  • Mail Fraud
  • Customs Violations
  • Tax Evasion
  • Counterfeiting

In the event someone has been arrested for a federal crime, the normal cost is 15%, of the entire bail amount as opposed to the 10% required by state bail bonds. For example, if the federal bail amount has been set at $50,000, then the 15% cost of the federal bail bond will be $7,500.  Federal bail bonds always take longer to process than state bail bonds, and will therefore require a lot more work from the bail bondsman, or bail bonds firm.  As with state bail, the rate that a bail bonds company can charge for handling a federal bail, is regulated.

If you or someone you know are arrested for a federal crime, it is most important that you contact a reputable, and experienced bail bonds firm straight away. Handling a federal case on your own, is never recommended.