The first thing to realize about getting bailed out of jail is that bounty hunters don’t operate in Illinois, so bail amount is paid to the county. Illinois eliminated the commercial bail bondsmen industry by prohibiting certain persons from paying bonds. That means that suspects in jail don’t pay a commercial bondsman or bondsperson.

The Illinois Compile Statutes section entitled “Persons prohibited from furnishing bail security” (725 ILCS 5/110-13) (from Ch. 38, par. 110-13) provides that:

“No attorney at law practicing in this State and no official authorized to admit another to bail or to accept bail shall furnish any part of any security for bail in any criminal action or any proceeding nor shall any such person act as surety for any accused admitted to bail.”

Kentucky, Oregon, and Wisconsin have also completely banned commercial bail bonding.

Bond hearings in Chicago

The bond for misdemeanors is usually determined in advance, allowing much quicker release from jail.

A bond hearing is required for most felony arrests. Under Illinois law, the hearing must be held within 72 hours of arrest. The judge generally will consider the details of the crime, the defendant’s criminal history, the presence or absence of violence, whether child or elderly victims were involved, and whether there are any family or community connections that would increase the likelihood that the defendant would stay in the geographic area and report to the court hearing. Under state law, judges can also consider the financial resources of the defendant, as well as his or her character and flight risk.

Bond Costs

Defendants with a significant bail can be released by posting 10 percent of the bail with the court. Most of that money will be returned as long as the defendant shows up for all court hearings – minus a 10 percent court fee. The money is returned whether the defendant is guilt or innocent if they show up for their court hearing. Any adult, except for excluded commercial bondspersons, can act as a co-signer and put up some or all of a defendant’s bond.

The amount of time a defendant remains in jail in Chicago often will depend on the facility he or she is sent to and the severity of the crime involved. The process to secure a pre-trial release is usually faster for a misdemeanor compared to a more serious crime. Also, larger jail facilities may involve more time for booking and processing before the bond process can begin.

Bond Types

There are three types of bonds in Chicago and Cook County.

An I-bond does not require any payment from the defendant, and is the equivalent of a personal recognizance bond. I-bonds are usually only given to defendants without previous arrests AND for crimes that did not involve violence, gang activity or children or the elderly as victims. The judge sets a bond amount, and in the event the defendant violates any condition set forth by the judge, he or she then must pay the full amount of the bond.

D-bond. A D-bond is similar to a surety bond in that a defendant is only required to post 10 percent of the bail amount to be released. The difference is that the money is paid to the Clerk of Court instead of a commercial bail bondsman. If the defendant shows up for all scheduled hearings, 90 percent of the money is returned. The other 10 percent is kept as a court fee.

A defendant is required to pay the entire bond amount in cash in a C-Bond situation, which usually involves more serious crimes. Judges choose a C-bond for drug felonies and crimes involving terrorism.

News reports usually describe the bail amounts and label I-Bonds, but don’t label the other two specific types of bonds.