Bail bondsman may become option in St. Joseph County - Fox 28: South Bend, Elkhart IN News, Weather, Sports

Bail bondsman may become option in St. Joseph County


A bill passed the Indiana Senate that would allow using a bail bondsman as an option. The bill will now move on to the House of Representatives.

St. Joseph County Prosecutor Michael Dvorak says there is a greater incentive to stay under the current system of bail being paid to the courts. With the current system if a person is found to be not guilty, the defendant will get their money back minus an administrative fee. If the defendant is found guilty 10 percent of the cash paid to the court goes to the victim restitution and is also used to pay the public defender. Dvorak says that approximately 80 percent of defendants use a public defender.

Most counties have bail bondsman as an option while St. Joseph County is in the minority on this issue. However, Dvorak believes this is a way for bail bondsman to create a greater profit given the size of St. Joseph County.

"They're helpful in some instances, but they'll have to tell you that most of the people who skip bond are caught by law enforcement, paid by tax payers, not caught by agents of the bonding company," Dvorak said.

Statistics show that about the same percentage of people who fail to appear in court is found in counties with bail bondsmen as counties with the cash option.

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