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Bail Bondsmen

History

Bail bonding is a long-established tradition of the American legal system. Posting bail to temporarily free someone who is accused of a crime began in colonial times. Colonists lived under the English common law that they brought with them. People who were charged with crimes were released if someone in the community would vouch for them. At first, if the accused person didn't show up for the trial, the person who guaranteed the accused person's appearance had to face the punishment that would have been given to the accused person. Later, this practice changed so that property was used to guarantee the appearance of someone for trial. In that way, if the person failed to appear for trial, the person who promised that the accused would appear only lost property and did not have to face punishment. As crime increased and the need for making sure accused people showed up for court grew, the courts continued to allow the practice of posting bail. In fact, the Eighth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution states: "Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted." Bail bonding today allows jail space to be freed for serious criminals and helps to ensure that everyone is truly "innocent until proven guilty."