Proper Courtroom Conduct

March 16, 2018
by Connie Allbritton

PROPER COURTROOM CONDUCT

There is a level of dignity that you are expected to adhere to in the court room. In order to show respect, dignify the court and facilitate justice, these are common court rules:

All parties should arrive on time to court proceedings.

Wear clothes that are modest, clean and which fit you well. Clothes don’t have to be new but they should demonstrate that you understand that this is a serious occasion. Take off your hat in the courtroom.

Turn all electronic devices off or at least turn them on silent.

Do not chew gum, suck on candy or bring food or drink.

When the Judge enters the courtroom you must stand and remain standing until the Judge says you may be seated.

When the Judge leaves the courtroom remain standing until he/she is out of the courtroom.

No one may talk while the Judge is on the bench unless directed to do so by the Judge or by court personnel.

Address the Judge as “Judge” or “His or Her Honor”/”Your Honor”, or “Yes Sir/Ma’am” or “No Sir/Ma’am” during proceedings.

Offensive, vulgar, racist, sexist or obscene language is prohibited.

The court discourages bringing small children to court appearances; however, should they appear, they must remain under constant parental supervision. If they become disruptive take them out of the room.

Persons shall remain seated in the courtroom unless the Judge is taking or leaving the bench.

No one shall approach the bench unless directed to do so by the Judge or having received the Judge’s permission to approach the bench. Persons will not lean on the counter in front of the Judge’s bench.

What to do when you miss your court date

January 11, 2018
by Connie Allbritton

What to do when you miss your court date.

When you have a court date you are required to be there. You need to do everything in your power to make it. There are very few excuses that the Judge hasn’t heard over and over again. Since your freedom can depend on it you should make it a priority. That being said sometimes things happen. If you miss your court date the Judge will issue a warrant for your arrest.

You should contact your attorney and bondsman right away. They will know what needs to be done to get you back in good standing with the court. The process of getting the warrant recalled and getting a new court date will depend on where you missed court. Every court is different and has their own procedure for dealing with it.

The worst thing you can do is ignore it or put it off. In most cases we can work with you and get you a new court date. If you ignore it we may not want to work with you and bond jumping is a felony so that can add a new charge and a new problem.

To many times we have clients who are arrested before they get it taken care of because they were either afraid of going to jail or they were waiting until it was more convenient for them. If you get arrested there is a good chance that your bond will be raised and it will cost you more. The bondsman, your attorney and the Judge will be less likely to want to help you because you didn’t help yourself.

In Cleveland County we frequently accompany our clients to court and agree to remain on the bond. In Oklahoma County there is a form we sign and your attorney can take it to the Judge to get the bond reinstated. Call us and we will help you because that is our job.

Defending Bail: A Quest for Truth

BEHIND THE PAPER WITH ERIC GRANOF

Over the past several weeks, I have been on an important quest across the country. Okay, it’s not really a quest, but it sounds a whole lot better than simply saying I have been travelling around a lot. From PBAI to CBAA to OBAA to PBT, this month-long adventure has taken me through 4 different states, 12 different cities and countless Uber rides. I have spent hours talking with and listening to various criminal justice stakeholders discussing the state of our criminal justice system. I have had discussions with district attorneys, victim advocates, law enforcement professionals and even judges. I have heard and debated different perspectives on how best to improve our system to be more fair and equitable. I have also talked with bail agents about what is really going on in their local communities and how these soft on crime bail reform policies have made communities less safe and criminals more dangerous.

While each person that I spoke with brought a unique perspective to the discussion, each one ultimately came together with the same conclusion…usually one of confusion and serious disappointment. In other words, everyone I spoke with thought that these reforms were bad public policy and they couldn’t understand why they were being promoted to the public.

Overwhelmingly (and unfortunately so) the majority of my conversations have been focused more on the negative than the positive. And by negative I am talking about the negative consequences and impacts that these reforms are having in communities all over the country. It really is amazing to watch how quickly crime increases when you decriminalize and reduce the punishment for breaking the law (actually it isn’t all that surprising). It is even more amazing to watch the supporters of these failed policies try so hard to explain that their programs are actually working when they very obviously aren’t.

One of the most interesting aspects of my travels has been that whomever I am talking with, whether it was someone from law enforcement or a judge or even a bail agent, the conversation always touched on in some way “how do we protect the rights of crime victims” and hold criminals accountable.

What makes this not just interesting but rather astonishing is that when you talk with anyone who supports bail reform, rarely if ever do you hear them mention a crime victim. They talk about fairness, they talk about the poor, they talk about social justice, but for some reason…they never talk about crime victims. Why is that? Who knows…maybe it is because they truly don’t understand how victimization occurs? Maybe it is because they believe people only commit crimes because society has failed them and hence they are the real victims. Whatever the reason, it makes absolutely no sense to me and most of the people I have spoken with.

I have said this a thousand times and will probably say it a thousand more, but the bail industry is the most misunderstood profession in existence. Most people have no clue how it works and the important role that it plays in the criminal justice system. To say that this lack of understanding is an Achilles heel for us is an understatement. Opponents of the bail industry have capitalized on this lack of understanding and spread false and misleading information to demonize and vilify an entire profession.

In fact, according to these opponents, I don’t think there is a single social ill that the bail industry isn’t responsible for. Everything from homelessness to unemployment to drug addiction and even death…the bail industry is the root to all evil in the world. I am not sure how they can honestly make these types of broad based accusations, but that is the song they are singing, and unfortunately people are listening to them and starting to sing along.

It is time for our industry to redefine our message and commit ourselves to educating stakeholders in our communities in the right way…with the truth. The bail industry has never been about the guilt or innocence of the defendant/accused, but rather it has always been about justice for the victim. The bail industry doesn’t release defendants from jail, but rather ensures that they show up for court (two very different concepts). The bail industry doesn’t create victims, but rather supports and helps victims have their day in court. The bail industry isn’t a broken link in the criminal justice system, but rather it is in my opinion the strongest link that keeps the wheels of justice turning fairly and responsibly for everyone.

So as I set off for another leg of my quest, I will keep talking and keep learning about this great industry and profession. I will also keep educating anyone and everyone about the important and essential role that bail plays in keeping communities safe by holding those accused of crimes accountable. I hope agents all over the country will join me in this quest. This isn’t a race or a contest with one person getting the credit. It is fight for survival in which each and every one of us must participate. Good luck and safe journeys.

Eric Granof is the Vice President of Corporate Communications for AIA Surety.

What it means to cosign for a bond

October 12, 2017
by Connie Allbritton

What it means to cosign for someone to get out of jail

As the Indemnitor (co-signer) on a bond YOU are liable for the amount of the bond if the Defendant does not show up for court and the bond is forfeited.

If we are unable to locate the Defendant and we have to pay the court YOU are responsible for that amount. The bond premium is non-refundable no matter what.

If we are required to have someone pick him up and put him back in jail YOU are responsible for that fee. The fee to pick someone up is usually 10% of the bond or a $200 minimum.

If you feel that the Defendant is a flight risk then call us and we will send someone to pick him up. YOU will be responsible for that fee.

You can’t be released from the bond unless the case is exonerated (meaning the Defendant has pled or been found guilty or the case is dismissed).

If the Defendant is back in jail in the county he was bonded from and you have notified us you want to be released from the bond we should be able to do a recommitment. If the Defendant is in jail in another county and you want off the bond notify us and we will do the proper paperwork to get off the bond. You are not released from the bond until the proper paperwork is filed.

It is my job to make sure the Defendant makes his/her court dates. If for some reason the Defendant fails to appear call immediately and let me know so that we can fix it before a warrant and bond forfeiture are issued. If you have any questions feel free to call me anytime.

If you or the Defendant move or change your address, phone or place of employment notify us immediately.

Big Red Bail Bonds App

July 4, 2017
by Connie Allbritton

To make life easier for our clients we now have a new app.

If you fill out the info in advance it has a panic button that will immediately send us a text if you push it when you are arrested. It gives us the phone numbers of the people you would like us to contact. We can start working on your bond before you even reach the jail.

You can also:

  • Call us or get our address
  • Make a payment
  • You can do your weekly checkin without calling
  • You can update your info with us.
  • Request a warrant search
  • and many other features
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