Are you confused about how bail bonds work in Wisconsin? You are not alone and this blog post is here to help you understand the Wisconsin bail bond system and what to do if you find yourself in need of one. With this simple guide, we’ll make sure that your questions are answered quickly and easily, so you can get back on the road to freedom.
Here are the key points to remember about Wisconsin bail bonds:
- What is a bail bond?
- How do I get a bail bond?
- What are the costs associated with a bail bond?
- What are the risks associated with a bail bond?
Does Wisconsin allow commercial bail bonds?
No. Commercial bail is outlawed in Wisconsin since 1979. According to Wisconsin state law, a bail bond may granted by the clerk of courts to secure the appearance of a defendant in court by providing money or property as security. If the defendant fails to appear in court as required, the surety of the bond has a right to demand that the total amount of the bond be paid.
Wis. Stat. § 969.12 provides that no surety can be compensated for serving as a surety, effectively eliminating the commercial bond market. See Kahn v. McCormack, 299 N.W. 2d 279 (Ct. App. 1980)(upholding constitutionality of statute and stating that purpose of the law is eliminate the commercial bond industry).
However, it is important to note that only those individuals who have been properly licensed by Wisconsin’s Office of the Commissioner of Insurance may engage in the business of bail bonding. This means that all persons conducting this type of business (and their agents and employees) must have met certain criteria and obtained proper licensing before acting as a “Master” or “General” agent for any Surety Company authorized to do business in Wisconsin.
How much is bail in Wisconsin?
Bail bonds in Wisconsin are set by the county court system, unless a crime is classified as a serious offense. The amount of bail depends on factors such as the severity of the crime and any past criminal record.
The state of Wisconsin has a maximum bail limit of $2,000 for non-felony crimes. If defendants fail to fulfill their bond agreement, they can be arrested and held in jail until their hearing date. If they appear at the court date and are found not guilty or their case is dismissed, they get all but one-tenth of a percent (1%) back from their bail amount.
The two common types of bond that may be posted in Wisconsin are surety bonds or cash bonds. With a surety bond, the defendant must first get help from a licensed bail bondsman who will contact an insurance company to provide a guarantee that the full amount due will be paid if needed. For example, if a person’s bail is set at $5,000 by the court system and he/she hires a bail bondsman to post it for them, then only $500 or 10% of the total bond amount will need to be paid upfront. The best way to determine the amount of your bail is using a bail calculator. The remaining balance will then either be:
- Paid off over time typically six months or more with low monthly payments; or
- Paid off in one lump sum payment at once.
Cash Bonds usually require full payment in advance which cannot then be reimbursed; however, some counties may allow partial payments on cash bonds if arrangements have been made with the court prior to setting it up.
How Do You Bail Someone out in Wisconsin?
When a person has been arrested and put in custody, a judge or magistrate will typically set an amount of money known as bail. This bail amount must be paid by the defendant or someone acting on his or her behalf, such as a family member or friend. The money is returned to the defendant when he or she appears in court as required. If the defendant fails to appear, however, the bail is forfeited and becomes non-refundable.
Bail bonding companies operate in Wisconsin for those who cannot afford to post their own bond. A bail bondsman agrees to post the full amount of cash bail for the accused if they pay a fee (typically 10 percent of the bond). The fee is non-refundable regardless of whether the defendant appears at court or not. In some cases, collateral may also be required from the accused.
The Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions regulates all licensed bail bondsmen in Wisconsin, who must pass background checks and complete a 40-hour continuing education course every two years in order to remain licensed. Bail bondsmen can provide helpful advice and assistance during this stressful time and help you understand what you are up against.
How do you pay bail in Wisconsin?
When a person is arrested, bail is placed as a condition of either release or continued incarceration until the court renders its decision. The purpose of bail is to ensure that the accused individual shows up at designated court hearings and to allow them to maintain contact with their community, family, and workplace.
Bail can be posted in Wisconsin in several ways:
- cash bond,
- surety bond through a professional bonding service such as a bail bondsman,
- cashier’s check,
- money order,
- or credit cards.
If you opt for the cash bond option, you can pay the full amount of the bail upfront personally (cashier’s check or money order) or via credit card. Depending on the outcome of your trial, you may get all or part of this payment back after your case has been resolved by the courts.
If you choose to use a bonding service such as a bondsman in Wisconsin, the fees associated with that type of bond must be paid upfront at least 10% (plus any related fees) of what ever amount is set by the judge presiding over your case. Bail bondsman fees are non-refundable and will not be returned even if acquitted of all charges against you. This makes it important that whoever posts financial security on behalf of another individual understands they could incur a significant financial loss if they do not ensure that person appears in court when ordered by law enforcement authorities and/or civil court judge.
What are the bond conditions?
After you obtain a bail bond, it is important to understand the conditions that come with it. Bail bonds are legally binding agreements, and any failure to comply may result in additional court fees, and the forfeiture of the bond along with any associated collateral. In Wisconsin, the surety issuing a bail bond has thirty (30) days from the date of posting the bond to provide a written explanation of all obligations and liabilities applicable to the signer.
The following are some examples of common conditions set forth by protective sureties in Wisconsin:
- The defendant must appear at all pre-trial court dates
- The defendant must not commit a criminal act
- The defendant must hold themselves available for immediate communication by law enforcement or other approved sources
- The defendant must adhere to any specific travel requirements established within their jurisdiction
- The defendant may be required to submit to electronic monitoring (when applicable)
- The defendant may be prohibited from traveling outside of Wisconsin without prior court approval
- The defendant must remain employed throughout their trial process (if not self employed)
Once these conditions have been established, there should be no further questions about what is expected from both parties involved in securing a bail bond. It is also important for any signors or beneficiaries of those bonds to remember that failure to comply with its terms could result in financial crisis or criminal charges.
What happens if I miss court in Wisconsin and I am on bail?
If you are required to appear in court in Wisconsin and you miss the assigned date, a warrant can be issued for your arrest. Depending on the circumstances, it is frequently possible for your lawyer to make an arrangement with the court to re-schedule the hearing. If this does not work out, law enforcement personnel may serve a warrant for your arrest.
If a warrant has been issued, then any bail that was posted as part of your original bond will usually be forfeited. This means that if anyone put up money or other collateral to secure the bond, they will likely have to pay this entire amount to the State of Wisconsin as compensation for failing to appear in court. In some cases, if you return voluntarily prior to being arrested on the warrant then you may be able to recover some or all of these funds after appearing before a judge and explaining why you missed your original court date.
In addition, further legal action might be taken against those who fail to appear in court after posting bail. This could include:
- Additional monetary fines
- Jail time
depending on the specifics of the case and laws in Wisconsin which are applicable at that time.
In Wisconsin how can you find an inmate to post their bail?
Here is a list of the jails in Wisconsin for you to contact about bail or putting money on an inmates books:
Wisconsin Corrections Department | 1001 Maple Bluff Rd, Stevens Point, WI | 715-346-1250
Racine County Jail | 717 Wisconsin Ave, Racine, WI | 262-636-3929
Douglas County Jail | 1310 N 14th St, Superior, WI | 715-395-1375
Brown County Sheriff’s Department – Jail Division | 3030 Curry Ln, Green Bay, WI | 920-448-4250
If you need to know where to post bail here are a list of Wisconsin Courts
This is a list of the most frequently used courts to post cash bail in Wisconsin:
Douglas County Circuit Court | 1313 Belknap St # 309, Superior, WI | 715-395-1203
Tomah Municipal Court | 819 Superior Ave, Tomah, WI | 608-374-7425
Milwaukee County Criminal Division | 821 W State St # 117, Milwaukee, WI | 414-278-4538
Racine Court Administration Office | 730 Wisconsin Ave, Racine, WI | 262-636-3133
Criminal Court Clerk | 615 Stokke Pkwy # 1500, Menomonie, WI | 715-232-2611
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How do bail bonds work in Wisconsin?
A: Bail bonds are a form of surety bond that is used to secure the release of an arrested individual from jail. The process works by having an approved bail bonding company post the full bail amount on behalf of the arrested individual, which allows them to be released from jail while they await their court date. The bail bonding company will charge a fee for their services, typically 10-15% of the total bail amount.
Q: Who is eligible for bail bonds in Wisconsin?
A: In Wisconsin, anyone who has been arrested and charged with a crime is eligible to be released on bail. However, not all individuals will be eligible for a bail bond. If the arrestee has a criminal history or is considered a flight risk, the judge may decide that the individual must remain in jail until their court date.
Q: What is the process for obtaining a bail bond in Wisconsin?
A: The process for obtaining a bail bond in Wisconsin is relatively straightforward. First, the arrestee or their family member will need to contact the court clerk for assistance. They will provide the necessary information about the arrestee and then the court clerk will file the cash bond receipt on behalf of the arrestee. After that, the bail bond will be processed and the arrestee will be released from jail.
Q: What are the 3 types of bail bonds in Wisconsin?
A: Cash bond, Signature bond (ROR) and Co-Signature Bond