Federal Immigration Bond vs Criminal Bail Bond: What's the Actual Difference

January 15, 2019

Action Immigration

Immigration Bond vs Criminal Bail Bond: What's the Difference?

There are many differences between an immigration bond and a bail bond. Find out more about each of them here.

The median immigration bond costs $7,500, up from around $5,000 just five years ago. Regular immigration bonds range anywhere from 100s of dollars (very commonly) to millions (far less commonly).

While in theory, the bonds function the same way for both immigration courts and regular courts, in practice they're used for very different reasons. Understanding these reasons is key to navigating the court system.

Criminal Bonds

The court system issues criminal bonds every day. Judges set bail and people pay bonds to release the accused from jail. However, before we talk about bonds we need to talk about bail.

Bail is an amount of money set by a judge. The amount varies based on the severity of the crime. When someone "posts bail" they're paying the entirety of that amount of money.

Criminal bonds are a little different than bail. A bondsman, or someone who deals in bonds for a living, posts bail on behalf of the defendant. Someone pays the bondsman a percentage, usually 10 percent, of the bail. That percentage is non-refundable. Sometimes the bondsman will also accept collateral towards the 10 percent.

The bondsman then pays the bail on behalf of the defendant. If the defendant doesn't come to court the bondsman is responsible for covering the bail cost.

Immigration Bonds

Immigration bonds operate under the same principals as criminal bonds. Bail is set and the alien in question needs to post bail to gain release from ICE custody. However, simply being inside the U.S. isn't a crime and ICE doesn't handle bonds like the court system.

Immigration bonds only apply to someone under immigration detention. When bail is set only someone who is of lawful status within the U.S. can pay that bail. The "bond" in this case refers to payment, rather than the bondsman's payment.

The payer must also make the payment in full. Partial payments aren't accepted, and neither is cash or personal checks. ICE only accepts cash equivalent methods such as post office money orders and cashiers checks. All bonds must get paid at an ICE office.

In addition, immigration bonds are separate from criminal bonds. It's possible for someone detained to pay their criminal bond and still have an ICE bond.

Bonds people, while legally able to post ICE bonds, often don't want to take on the associated risks. First, bondsmen see ICE bonds as flight risks. Second, ICE can refuse an ICE bond at any time for any reason. There's a high probability that the bondsman won't see their money back.

Posting Your Immigration Bond

Posting an immigration bond isn't straightforward. It's a convoluted process that hurts people already dealing with a stressful time. If you're faced with an immigration bond you need legal help.

The team here at Action Immigration Bonds is on your side. We have the legal knowledge and experience to deal with ICE bonds. We can even petition a judge on behalf of the accused. Don't hesitate to reach out if you're facing an immigration bond issue.

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