How Bonds Work in Cook County

How Bonds Work in Cook County: From a Chicago Criminal Lawyer

How Bonds Work in Cook County

Let’s begin with the basics. The Illinois Supreme Court set forth laws that require a bail be established whenever someone is charged with a crime. A bond is cash or property that is deposited with the court to ensure that you will appear in court when you are ordered to do so in exchange for being released from jail. In addition to appearing in court when you’re supposed to, the judge can impose additional conditions on your bond. Some bond conditions, such as a requirement that you “obey all laws,” are common. Other conditions may reflect the crime for which you’re arrested. For example, a condition may order a person charged with domestic violence not to contact the complaining witness. If a condition is violated, a judge may and usually does revoke bail and order the defendant re-arrested and returned to jail.

Even, when being issued some speeding tickets in Illinois, you have to post bond in the form of cash, a bond card, or your driver’s license. For more serious offenses, such as: DUI, drug charges, gun charges, battery, and etc., a cash bond is typically required. There are three types of bonds in Illinois. The most common type is a D-bond, but there are also I-bonds and C-bonds.
When a judge sets a D-bond, 10% of the bail amount must be paid or “posted” for the accused to be released from jail and be considered “out on bond”. As an example, if your bond is set at $40,000, the amount that must be posted is $4,000 and when the case is disposed of (convicted or dismissed) a check is mailed to you for the paid amount minus a 10% fee. So, in the example, a check for $3600 would be mailed to your address. Some people ask if a bail bondsman can be used, the answer is no. Bail bondsman cannot do business in Illinois, it’s against the law.

“I-Bonds” are personal recognizance bonds. With these bonds, there is a bail amount, but you do not have to pay it to be released. However, if you don’t show up to court, you will be arrested and the bond forfeited, which will allow the court to collect the full bond amount, after they arrest you for not showing up and the judge orders that you forfeit the bond.
A C-Bond means you must pay the full amount of bail to get out of jail pre-trial.


Bond hearings usually occur within 24 hours of an arrest and this is when the accused goes in front of a judge and the bond amount is set. If at all possible, you need to hire a criminal lawyer to be present at the bond hearing. The more serious the offense, the higher the bond. However, the issuing judge does have discretion on setting a bail amount and a criminal lawyer has the negotiating skills needed to get you optimal results and hopefully an affordable bond amount. The judge reviews the defendant’s criminal history, nature of the offense, and possible penalties for the type of offense when determining what bond amount to set.

I know that in many circumstances, the accused or family members just don’t have the resources to retain a criminal lawyer prior to the bond hearing. If you find yourself in this situation and the bond is set to an unaffordable amount, hire a criminal lawyer ASAP and ask him/her to file a motion to review bond. I have filed many, many motions and have been highly successful in getting bond amounts reduced and defendants back home with their families.

I hope you found this post to be helpful.

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