The Illinois bail bond law ten percent rule may cause a heart attack to the uninformed.
Anyone charged with a traffic or low level offense may go through shock if they don't have a basic understanding of the terms “bail”, “bond”, and the “10% Rule”. See my earlier post.
No Private Bail Bondsmen System
Illinois and a handful of a few other states have eliminated the private bail bondsmen system. In Illinois, the law allows for the payments of bail bonds in behalf of an accused to be made only by non-professional bail bondsmen.
This means that, in Illinois, for the majority of the time a defendant or his family is paying bond directly to the court. The goal was to eliminate the necessity of the middle man, lower total costs for the accused, and prevent abuses of the bail bond system and abuses by “bounty hunters.” See the following stories on what can happen in states with an active bail bondsmen system.
- States Struggle to Eliminate the Bond Industry
- Illegal Globally, Bail for Profit Remains in U.S.
- The Bail Bond Industry is for Profit, But Not For Good
- Is the U.S. Bail System Unfair?
- Behind the Bail Bond System, and
- New Study Calls for Eliminating Bail Bonds.
The elimination of the commercial bail bondsmen and the practice of bounty hunting is quite direct. Illinois warns bail bondsmen from other states that:
No bail bondsman from any state may seize or transport unwillingly any person found in this State who is allegedly in violation of a bail bond posted in some other state.
Dog the Bounty Hunter be warned. “Don’t be coming around these parts or you'll be charged with kidnapping.”
Some People Not Allowed to Post Bonds
In its effort to eliminate the commercial bail bondsmen industry, Illinois prohibits certain individuals from paying bonds. The section entitled “Persons prohibited from furnishing bail security” 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 such person act as surety for any accused admitted to bail.
This law just makes it clear that no professional bail bondsmen is allowed to pay bonds for defendant’s in Illinois. Private attorneys are also prohibited from paying bonds for their clients. This ensures that attorney’s do not informally turn into bail bondsmen, thus blurring their zealous advocacy for their clients.
Otherwise, the Illinois rule works as it does in the rest of the nation.
The Illinois Bail Bond Law
The Illinois Bail Statute begins by defining the following terms:
(a) “Security” is that which is required to be pledged to insure the payment of bail.
(b) “Sureties” encompasses the monetary and nonmonetary requirements set by the court as conditions for release either before or after conviction. “Surety” is one who executes a bail bond and binds himself to pay the bail if the person in custody fails to comply with all conditions of the bail bond.
The awkward use of the terms “Security” and its plural version “Sureties” is really just the definition of what is normally referred to as the “bond”, the actual money paid before release. This is made clear in the last sentence which explains that anyone else who chooses to bind themselves to the court is called a “surety” and would be required to pay the full bail “if the person in custody” fails to comply with all conditions of the bail bond. The word “sureties” as described in part (b) is describing the bond payment along with all the other bond conditions imposed on the accused during his release. In this section, Illinois is describing what the rest of the states call the “bail bond.”
Illinois Bail Bond Law Ten Percent Rule
In Illinois, bail bonds are paid directly to the circuit clerk of the court, the law states that:
(a) The person for whom bail has been set shall execute the bail bond and deposit with the clerk of the court before which the proceeding is pending a sum of money equal to 10% of the bail, but in no event shall such deposit be less than $25 …
(b) Upon depositing this sum and any bond fee authorized by law, the person shall be released from custody subject to the conditions of the bail bond.
Remember, the bail amount is only paid if the defendant fails to return to court or violates other bond conditions. The bond payment is the amount of money that must be paid to ensure the release of the accused. The Illinois bail bond law ten percent rule (“10% Rule”) says that that the actual money that needs to be paid secure the release of the defendant is 10% of the total bail that was set by the judge.
Most sheriff's departments and police departments also collect bonds. These department then deposit the bonds with the circuit clerk of the court as required by law. See 725 ILCS 5/110-9.
Illinois followed the industry standard of requiring a 10% of bail as the bond to be posted before an individual is released.
This is where the “10% Rule” came from. In Illinois defendants and their families are paying bonds directly to the court without the use of commercial bail bondsmen. The circuit court then is allowed to retain 10% of the bond money that they collected to pay for their administrative costs. See 725 ILCS 5/110-7(f).
Much confusion can be created among individuals who come into contact with Illinois’s bail bond system. Understanding what has to be paid and the meaning of it all can get confusing.
Ten Percent Rule Applies to Tickets As Well
The “10% Rule” is even followed with traffic tickets. Anyone who does not understand the “10% Rule” is likely to get confused and misinterpret the big number they see on their traffic ticket. This big value is not a
- court cost, nor
- the amount of the money one has to pay for their release
Usually, a bail amount will be set and a monetary amount in the thousands of dollars will be recorded as the bail. This often will be recorded on a traffic citation as bail even when a person was released on their own recognisance and their signature.
Of course, the bail amount is never actually paid if the individual returns to court as they promised.