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Bail Bonds in the Family Court

What is a bail bond?

    A bail bond is a written guarantee that a defendant will attend all further Court proceedings.  Bail is set by a court to make sure that a defendant will appear and also to offer the community protection if the defendant is considered dangerous.  The more likely it is that a person is dangerous or will not appear in Court when required, the higher the bail will be.

What type of bonds are there?

    There are four primary types of bonds: Signature or Own Recognizance (sometimes called “OR”), Unsecured, Secured, and Cash Only.

How can bonds be posted?

    Signature/Own Recognizance “OR”:  The defendant signs a bond order guaranteeing appearance for further proceedings.

    Unsecured:  The defendant signs a bond guaranteeing appearance for further hearings with the understanding that if the defendant does not appear, he/she will be responsible for paying the Court a designated amount of money.  In these instances a hearing officer may require that a responsible third party, such as a relative, sign the bond.

    Secured:  The defendant must pay a designated amount of money or provide the Court with security such as a title to property worth at least as much as the ordered bond amount.  The co-signer and defendant must then sign a bond order guaranteeing the defendant’s appearance for further Court proceedings.

    Cash Only:  The defendant and/or a co-signer must pay a designated amount of money to the Court.  The defendant and a co-signer, if any, must also sign a bond order guaranteeing the appearance of the defendant at further Court hearings.

When I sign a bond, what am I promising?

    I am promising that the defendant will appear and that the defendant will follow all conditions placed on him/her, such as no contact with the victim.

Who can post bond for a juvenile?

    Any adult can post bond for a juvenile; however, the juvenile can only be released to his/her parents or a guardian.

Where can I go to post bond and when?

    Bonds for Family Court defendants must be posted at Family Court during the regular business hours of 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.

If the person has been detained, where can I go to pick up the person after bond is posted?

    Defendants are only released from the facilities where they are being detained;  Gander Hill, Delaware Correctional Center, Sussex Correctional Center, Stevenson House, etc.  After the facility has received an Order of Release from the Court, the defendant will be released, and they can be picked up from that facility.

What can I do if I want the bond changed?

    If you have posted bond and wish to change either the conditions or the amount, you must file a Motion to Modify Bond.  These motions will be held for 10 calendar days and then taken to the appropriate hearing officer for review.  In some cases a hearing will be scheduled and you will be notified in writing when to attend.  In other cases the hearing officer (a judge or commissioner) will make a decision based on the motion without a hearing, and you will receive an order in the mail.

When do I get my money back on a bond?

    Bond money or property is released only after a case ends and a final order is entered.  You will receive a check from the cashier in the mail or you may come to Family Court to pick it up.

What happens if the defendant does not show for court as promised?

    You could lose any money or property that was posted for bail.