No one wants to go to jail. For an undocumented immigrant, going to jail means more than a stressful prison sentence. It could mean deportation.
Immigration bail bonds can help you and your loved ones. An undocumented immigrant can live their life while their court proceedings are underway. However, bonds are not “get out of jail free” cards.
How much do immigration bail bonds cost? What does it mean to be out on bail? Answer those questions with this guide.
What Are Immigration Bail Bonds?
You may have seen bail in the news or movies. Those depictions are simplistic.
Immigration bail bonds is an agreement between a criminal defendant and an immigration court. After the defendant has been arrested, their lawyer and the judge must schedule a bond hearing. The judge hears the prosecutor and defendant and then determines a rate that the defendant must pay.
A documented American citizen must pay the immigration bail bond. Their money goes to the Department of Homeland Security. An immigration bail bondsman co-signs the bond, guaranteeing the payment for a fee. The defendant will not go to prison before and during their trial.
The bond will be forfeited if a defendant fails to appear at hearings or breaks the law. The defendant will return to prison and remain there until their trial starts. The defendant’s lawyer can apply for remission, asking to refund the forfeited bond.
If a defendant follows their bond proceedings, the person who paid the bond receives their money back. Immigration bail bondsmen accept a rate for ensuring the payment, so paybacks will not complete. A person can negotiate a bondsman’s rate before paying the bond.
A judge is not required to offer a bond. If the judge believes the defendant is a flight risk or poses a danger to the community, the judge will not offer one. The defendant will remain in jail.
Undocumented immigrants are often denied bonds. If they have a removal order against them, they are not offered a bond. Family members and lawyers can visit undocumented immigrants in prison.
How Much Does an Immigration Bail Bond Cost?
Immigration bail bonds vary in cost. The minimum is $1,500, but rates can increase. Every case is different. But ICE considers several factors in general when determining a bond.
If the defendant has been in the United States for a long period of time, their bond may be smaller. If the defendant has family ties in the United States, their bond may be very small. If they are a primary caregiver, their bond may also be very small.
If the defendant has a full-time job, their bond may also be small. A strong employment history demonstrates that the defendant helps their community and can pay for a bond, which encourages the judge to grant a bond.
If the defendant has no criminal record, their bond may be smaller. A judge isn’t likely to grant a bond to an undocumented immigrant with any criminal background, including misdemeanors.
If the defendant has not previously violated immigrant law, their bond may be smaller. A judge isn’t likely to grant a bond to an undocumented immigrant with violations on their record.
Bonds are higher in border states. Texas has four types of immigration bail bonds, and a defendant may have to pay multiple bonds to receive full privileges.
The cost of a bond may be excessive. A lawyer can file a “motion for bond redetermination,” requesting a second hearing to determine a lower bond rate. The judge is not obliged to lower the bond, so the lawyer needs to make a strong case.
What Happens After a Bond Is Paid?
A bond does not lead to absolute freedom. An undocumented immigrant out on a bond can go to work, attend meetings, and participate in their community. But they do not have the liberties they had prior to their arrest.
An undocumented immigrant will attend a series of hearings. They must attend every one, even if they have other obligations. The court may grant a rescheduling, but only under rare circumstances.
While out on bail, undocumented immigrants are monitored. They are confined to an area around their home and cannot leave without informing the court.
ICE officers may perform “check-ins” at their work or home. They may call the defendant’s phone or watch the defendant come and go.
An undocumented immigrant out on bail needs to be on their best behavior. Any criminal violation, even a misdemeanor or a traffic violation, can result in their bail being denied. They can be sent back to prison.
Bond conditions are more strict in border states. ICE agents in Arizona can refuse to disclose where a defendant is detained, making it harder to start the bond process.
Undocumented immigrants can pursue paths to citizenship while on bail or in court proceedings. They may seek asylum, adjust their citizenship status, or request a “cancellation of removal.” Pursuing a path to citizenship can strengthen their case in immigrant court.
Consult With the Experts on Immigration Bail Bonds
Any criminal proceeding is scary. A proceeding in immigration court is frightening.
You will have a lot of questions when you face an immigration court case. “How much do immigration bail bonds cost?” is an important one. An immigration bail bond may be cheap, or it may be expensive.
It depends on many factors, including the bond service you contact. Amistad is available to help you.
Request a free consultation or call us at 800-492-7959. We provide services in every state.