This is an official copy of the following document.

OAG 97-3

February 20, 1997

Subject: Filing fee of a bail bond

Written By: Douglas Scott Porter, Assistant Attorney General

Requested By: Katherine Mercer, Meade County Court Clerk

Syllabus: A county clerk's fee for filing a bail bond is $18.00, and the fee for accepting a written release is $12.00.

Statutes Construed: KRS 64.012, KRS 142.010(1)(e), KRS 382.240 and Kentucky Rules of Criminal Procedure RCr 4.36

Opinion of the Attorney General

The Office of the Attorney General has been asked to render an opinion regarding what amount a county clerk may charge for the receipt and filing of a bail bond, and what a clerk may charge for accepting a written release. The Attorney General provides this response concerning the questions submitted by Katherine Mercer, Meade County Clerk.

LEGAL ANALYSIS

Under the Kentucky Rules of Criminal Procedure RCr 4.36, a county clerk must accept and file a posted bail bond. The actual fees for the receiving and filing of the bail bond are established by several different statutes.

KRS 64.012 allows a county clerk to charge $3.00 for each bail bond taken or prepared. Under the same statute, a county clerk is allowed to charge $8.00 for recording each bond. KRS 64.012 requires an additional $3.00 charge which ties directly into KRS 431.535(6). This statute pertains to the discharge and release of the bond and the notification of said release in the margin. Because the processing of a bail bond requires three different steps, three different rate provisions of KRS 64.012 apply.

Two other statutes also affect the total fee amount. The General Assembly has also imposed a state tax on legal processes and instruments. KRS 142.010(1)(e) allows a tax of $3.00 to be charged on each recorded lien such as a secured bail bond. It is also necessary to charge for postage and copying because KRS 382.240 mandates that each instrument recorded by the county clerk shall be delivered to the party entitled thereto. Neither of these statutes establishes a fee for the postage nor does KRS 64.012. As previously opined by this office in OAG 84-91 and OAG 87-80, when there is no other applicable fee statute, county clerks are permitted to charge "reasonable fees" for handling the process. A charge of $1.00 for the cost of stamps, envelopes and labor related to returning the documents is not unreasonable.

The second question to be addressed is what the fee is for accepting and recording a written release. This fee is again found in the rate schedule of KRS 64.012. The fee for accepting and recording the release is $ 8.00. As per the statute, the noting of this release is $3.00. A charge of $1.00 for the cost of stamps, envelopes and labor related to returning the documents is again not unreasonable. The tax provisions contained in KRS 142.010 are not applicable in the situation of accepting and recording a written release, so there is no additional fee. Thus, the total cost for accepting, recording and noting a written release is $12.00.

CONCLUSION

To summarize, the total cost for recording a bail bond is $18.00. Three separate provisions of KRS 64.012 apply because the act of recording the bond requires three separate functions, all of which have a different cost: bond required to be taken or prepared by the clerk, $3.00; recording said bond, $8.00; and making the required marginal notation relating to the same instrument, $3.00 (see also KRS 431.535(6)).

The state tax on legal process set forth in KRS 142.010(1)(e) is $3.00, and is also factored into the total cost. Lastly, the court clerk is entitled to a reasonable $1.00 fee for postage. The grand total then of accepting, filing and processing a bail bond is $18.00.

The total cost for accepting, recording and noting a written release is $12.00. Again, the rate schedule contained in KRS 64.012 governs. A fee of $8.00 is charged for receiving and recording the document. The noting of this release is $3.00, and a reasonable fee of $1.00 for postage and handling may be charged.

A.B. CHANDLER III

ATTORNEY GENERAL

DOUGLAS SCOTT PORTER

ASSISTANT ATTORNEY GENERAL