Recently in Wisconsin there has been a lot of discussion on how commercial bail bondsman could/will become legal as an earmark to a budget bill. While looking into this matter, one side argues that since bail bondsman charge defendants 10% of the bond and that the defendant never gets this money back that it causes problems with jail crowding since defendants that can't afford the charge don't take the bail bond. But my question is, how does the current system differ? Do the local courts provide bonds to defendants? How do those that cannot afford to pay bail get out of jail? And who is the surety or guarantor?

  • There is always the option of putting up a bond with out using the bondsmen. It just generally costs more. Jun 17, 2013 at 20:34
  • Unfortunately bail is set with the knowledge of the bondsmen existing.
    – Joshua
    Mar 9, 2016 at 18:14

1 Answer 1


Currently, Wisconsin has, since 1979, banned commercial bail bonding, so people can't hire a third-party bail bondsman who promises to pay the full cash bond amount if the defendant fails to appear in court while said defendant pays 10%. According to one law office, when someone is arrested in Wisconsin for a minor offense, a person can get out of jail in the charges or dropped or they get a bond. When arrested, the convicted must go to a court commissioner who sets the amount of bail and the conditions, which can take the form of cash or a signature bond. One requires cash to be posted, the other simply requires a signature before release and the money to be paid over time. According to the law office, "Any money posted for bail will be returned to the person who posted it about two weeks after the case is over." You can bring a lawyer to reduce the amount if you can afford one. With commercial bail bondsman, the bondsmen keep the 10% paid to them as profit instead of all the money going back to the person posting bail 2 weeks after their case ends. In Wisconsin, most criminals will also be pursued by investigators instead of bounty hunters, since it is one of the 4 states where the practice is illegal.

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