Bail Bonds


A friend or family member gets arrested.  Call a criminal lawyer.  The lawyer may be able to convince the magistrate judge to set a lower bond.  The lawyer does this by detailing the accused’s extensive ties to the community.  For example, the lawyer will describe to the magistrate the defendants family, friends, employment, home ownership to demonstrate that the accused will show up for his court date.  Magistrates tend to think that if someone already has a lawyer they are a good bet.  After all, a bail bond is nothing more that an appearance bond.  Showing up for court is the whole point.

Attorney Kenneth Quillen concentrating during a murder trial.

Corporate Surety Bonds:

Cash bonds are permitted but most people will need a corporate surety, or a “bondsman.” Per statute the premium fee for your bond cannot be more than 10% of the face amount of the bond.  For example, if the bond is set at $2,500, the premium on the bond should be no more than $250.  In addition the law allows a $25 initiation fee.

The bondsman may insist on collateral in addition to the 10% premium fee.  If the bondsman accepts collateral, he must supply a written  receipt for the collateral, and the receipt shall give in detail a full description of the collateral received and the terms of redemption.  See TCA 40-11-126(a)(8).

Source Hearings:

In Nashville, Davidson County, the courts require a “source hearing” if the bond is $75,000 or greater.  At that hearing the defendant, or his family usually, must prove in open court that the source of funds for the bond premium is from a legitimate source.


A bondsman may not get off the bond arbitrarily — without good cause.  Good cause may include failure to perform obligations under the contract.  See TCA 40-11-126(a)(7) and TCA 40-11-132.

Property Bonds:

Your attorney may also assist you in making a property bond with real estate or other property.  The bail bond may be secured by Tennessee real estate with unencumbered equity worth one and one-half times the amount of bail set.

Procedurally, the defendant’s sureties (friends or family) execute a deed of trust conveying the real estate in trust to the clerk who files a deed of trust in the office of the Register of Deeds of the county in which the real estate is situated.  The costs of the preparation of the deed and recordation are paid by the sureties.

Probation Violations:

Probation violation warrants are often “open court” bonds. That means there is no bond set and the magistrate will be powerless to set a bond.  If you are in the Nashville area a lawyer may be able to get a bond set so you do not have to spend the night in jail.

For more information call Ken Quillen at 615-351-0480 or make an office appointment.