2015 Code of Alabama
Title 12 - COURTS.
Chapter 19 - COURT FINANCES.
Article 8 - Judicial Administration Funds.
Section 12-19-311 - Bail bond fees.

AL Code § 12-19-311 (2015) What's This?
Section 12-19-311Bail bond fees.

(a)(1) In addition to all other charges, costs, taxes, or fees levied by law on bail bonds, additional fees as detailed in paragraph a. and paragraph b. shall be imposed on every bail bond in all courts of this state.

The fee shall not be assessed in traffic cases, except for those serious traffic offenses enumerated in Title 32, Chapter 5A, Article 9. Where multiple charges arise out of the same incident, the bond fee pursuant to this section shall only be assessed on one charge. For the purposes of this section, the term same incident shall be defined as the same date, location, and proximate time. Where the charge is negotiating a worthless negotiable instrument, the fee shall not be assessed more than three times annually per person charged. The fees shall be assessed as follows:

a. A filing fee in the amount of thirty-five dollars ($35) on each bond executed.

b. For a misdemeanor offense, a bail bond fee in the amount of 3.5 percent of the total face value of the bail bond or one hundred dollars ($100), whichever is greater, but not to exceed four hundred fifty dollars ($450). For a felony offense, a bail bond fee of 3.5 percent of the total face value of the bail bond or one hundred fifty dollars ($150), whichever is greater, but not to exceed seven hundred fifty dollars ($750). Except that if a person is released on a judicial public bail, recognizance, or signature bond, including a bond on electronic traffic and nontraffic citations, the fee shall be affixed at twenty-five dollars ($25). For purposes of this section, face value of bond shall mean the bond amount set by court or other authority at release, not the amount posted at release on bail.

(2) The fees assessed pursuant to paragraph a. of subdivision (1) of subsection (a) are required whether the release from confinement or admittance to bail is based on cash, judicial public bail, personal recognizance, a signature bond, including a bond on electronic traffic and nontraffic citations for those serious traffic offenses enumerated in Title 32, Chapter 5A, Article 9, an appearance bond, a secured appearance bond utilizing security, a bond executed by a professional surety company, or a professional bail company using professional bondsmen; provided, however that no fee shall be assessed pursuant to paragraph a. of subdivision (1) of subsection (a) if a person is released on judicial public bail or on personal recognizance for a documented medical reason. The fee shall be assessed at the issuance, reissuance, or reinstatement of the bond.

(b) The fee in paragraph a. of subdivision (1) of subsection (a) shall be collected by either the official executing the bond or by the clerk of the court. If the fee is collected by the official executing the bond, it shall be collected at the execution of the bond or at the time of release. If the fee is collected by the clerk of the court, it shall be collected at the execution of the bond, at the time of release, or within two business days of release. The fee may be remitted via money order, electronic means, U.S. mail to the court clerk postmarked within 48 hours of release, or by any other method approved by the sheriff. If the fee is collected by an official other than the clerk of the court, the official shall remit the fee to the clerk of the court, attached to the executed bond, within 30 days or upon adjudication or conviction of the underlying offense, whichever occurs first; if the fee is not collected by the official, the official shall provide documentation of the nonpayment, attached to the executed bond, to the clerk of the court within two business days. The clerk of the court may accept the payment of the fee if the clerk has the executed bond, together with proof of nonpayment and charging instrument, in hand. This fee shall be paid by the bondsman, surety, guaranty, or person signing as surety for the undertaking of bail. If the person is released on own recognizance, judicial public bail, or non-custodial offense pursuant to Rule 20 of the Alabama Rules of Judicial Administration, the fee shall be assessed at the time of adjudication or at the time that any other fees and costs are assessed.

(c) Upon the failure to pay the fee in paragraph a. of subdivision (1) of subsection (a) and upon a finding of contempt in subsection (d), the bondsman, surety, guaranty, or individuals required to pay the fee shall be punished by a fine of not less than five hundred dollars ($500) in addition to the fee imposed in paragraph a. of subdivision (1) of subsection (a). The fine shall not be remitted, waived, or reduced unless the person(s) fined can show cause to the court that he or she cannot pay the fine in the reasonably foreseeable future. In addition, upon a finding of contempt, if the responsible party is a professional surety company or a professional bail company or otherwise operating as a bondsman under Alabama law, the presiding judge may revoke the entity or individual's authority to write or issue bonds pursuant to Section 15-13-159 or 15-13-160 until such time as the payment is rendered in full.

(d) If the fee in paragraph a. of subdivision (1) of subsection (a) is not paid in full within 30 days, the clerk of the court shall provide notification of the delinquency to the district attorney or prosecuting attorney on a monthly basis. Upon receipt of the certification of delinquency or failure to pay from the court, the district attorney or prosecuting attorney may take appropriate action which may include, but shall not be limited to, contempt proceedings. If contempt proceedings are initiated the district attorney or prosecuting attorney shall send notice by U.S. Mail to the last known address of the person charged with the crime, bondsman, surety, guaranty, or person signing as surety for the undertaking of bail of the failure to pay and provide them 10 days to remit payment in full pursuant to this section. If the surety is the person charged with the crime where the fee applies, the district attorney or prosecuting attorney may file a petition for contempt and the court shall set the contempt hearing on the person's next regularly scheduled court appearance. If the surety is not the person charged with the crime the district attorney or prosecuting attorney may file a petition for contempt with the court, which may, after hearing, find the bondsman, surety, guaranty or person signing as surety the undertaking of bail in contempt. The municipal court clerk shall provide a list to the prosecuting attorney and district attorney every 60 days that shall include, but not be limited to, the name of every person who has failed to pay the fee, the municipal case number, and the name of the person signing as surety for the undertaking bail. If the prosecuting authority of the municipality does not initiate contempt proceedings pursuant to this section within 30 days of receiving notice from the clerk of the court, the district attorney with jurisdiction may file the contempt petition in the municipal court. If the district attorney initiates contempt proceedings in a municipal case and the person is found in contempt, the fine shall be distributed as follows: 50% to the general fund of the municipality and 50% to the district attorney Solicitor's Fund.

(e)(1) The fee imposed on bail bonds under paragraph b. of subdivision (1) of subsection (a) shall be assessed to the defendant and be imposed by the court when the defendant appears in court for adjudication or sentencing.

(2) Notwithstanding (e)(1), if the bail bond has been secured by cash, the conditions of release have been performed, and the defendant has been discharged from all obligations of the bond, or if the cash bail bond is forfeited the clerk of the court shall, unless otherwise ordered by the court, retain as the bail bond fee the amount pursuant to paragraph b. of subdivision (1) of subsection (a) and disburse the remainder as provided by law.

(3) Notwithstanding (e)(1), if the property bail bond has been secured, the conditions of release have been performed and the defendant has been discharged or released from all obligations of the bond, or if the property bail bond is forfeited, then the bond shall be reduced to the bail bond fee amount pursuant to paragraph b. of subdivision (1) of subsection (a) and the property shall not be discharged or released by the court until the bail bond fee pursuant to paragraph b. of subdivision (1) of subsection (a) has been paid in full.

(4) The fees shall be collected pursuant to paragraph b. of subdivision (1) of subsection (a) by the clerk of the court. The fees pursuant to this section shall not be remitted, waived, or reduced unless the defendant proves to the reasonable satisfaction of the sentencing judge that the defendant is not capable of paying the same within the reasonably foreseeable future. The fees pursuant to this section shall not be remitted, waived, or reduced unless all other costs, fees, and charges of court are remitted or waived.

(5) The fees shall not reduce or affect the funds allocated to the office of the court clerk, the sheriff, the municipality, the district attorney, or the Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences under any local act or other funding mechanism under the law. These funds shall be in addition to and not in lieu of any funds currently available to the office of the court clerk, sheriff, municipality, the district attorney, and the Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences.

(f) The court clerks shall distribute on a monthly basis as other fees are distributed, the fees collected pursuant to paragraph a. of subdivision (1) of subsection (a) as follows: Ten percent from each fee shall be distributed either to the county general fund to be earmarked and distributed to the Sheriff's Fund, administered by the sheriff, in the county where the bond was executed or, where the bond is executed by the municipality, to the municipality; 45 percent of the fee to the court clerk's fund where the bond was executed or where the bond is executed by the municipal court, to the municipality; 45 percent of the fee to the Solicitor's Fund in the county where the bond was executed. The bail bond fee records shall be audited by the Department of Examiners of Public Accounts.

(g) The court clerks shall distribute on a monthly basis as other fees are distributed, the fees collected pursuant to paragraph b. of subdivision (1) of subsection (a) as follows: Twenty-one dollars and fifty cents ($21.50) from each fee shall be distributed to the county general fund which shall be earmarked and distributed to the Sheriff's Fund, administered by the sheriff, in the county where the bond was executed or, where the bond was executed by a municipality, to the municipality; 40 percent of the remainder of the fee to the court clerk's fund where the bond was executed or where the bond is executed by the municipal court, to the municipality; 45 percent of the remainder of the fee to the Solicitor's Fund in the county where the bond was executed; five percent to the State General Fund and ten percent to the Alabama Forensic Services Trust Fund. The bail bond fee records shall be audited by the Department of Examiners of Public Accounts.

(Act 2012-535, p. 1582, §2; Act 2013-193, p. 360, §1.)

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