If you or a loved one has been arrested, you are probably wondering what’s going to happen. Depending on the situation, you may need a bail bond. To help you prepare, here’s an overview of the process and answers to some frequently asked questions.
1. What Is Bail?
When you are charged with a crime and arrested, the judge sets bail for you. Bail refers to a certain amount of money that you must pay in order to get out of jail. If you opt not to pay bail, you can stay in jail until your trial, but statistically, if you don’t post bail and you stay in jail, you become more likely to plead guilty and potentially face more jail time.
The bail amount varies based on the type of crime of which you are accused, your past criminal record, and several other factors. The bail works as a guarantee to the courts that you will come back for your trial. Essentially, you give them money, and when you show up for your trial, you get the funds back.
2. What Are Bail Bonds?
In a lot of cases, people can’t afford to pay bail on their own, and they get help by turning to a bail bond. A bail bond is essentially a loan you get from a bondsman. You pay a percentage of the bail amount to the bondsman. Then, the bondsmen put up the rest of the bail. When the individual has shown up to all their court dates, the bail will be returned.
3. How Much Are Bail Bonds Fees?
In Tennessee, bail bonds fees are determined by the state. Fees can be up to 10 percent of the bail amount. For example, if you have a $50,000 bail, you should expect to pay a $5,000 fee to the bail bondsmen.
4. Are Bail Bonds Fees Refundable?
No, bail bonds fees are not refundable. The amount you pay covers the service provided by the bail bonds company. People pay these fees in a variety of ways. Often, they use credit cards, but some bondsmen are willing to accept collateral like interest in your car or property.
5. What Happens If You Don’t Show Up for Your Trial?
Bail bonds fees are designed to ensure you show up for your trial. If you show up for your trial, the bondsmen get back the funds they put up to pay your bail. However, if you don’t show up for your trial, the courts have the right to keep the bail, and by extension, the bondsmen risk losing their investment.
At this point, professional bondsmen in Tennessee are legally allowed to find you. In particular, they can send a bounty hunter after you. Bounty hunters must meet legal and professional requirements, but they can find you and perform an arrest if you miss your trail.
6. How Do You Get a Bail Bond?
After you are arrested, you can contact a bail bonds company immediately. Or, you can wait until you know the exact amount of your bail. Many bail bonds companies accept collect calls so you don’t have to worry about any costs associated with calling.
Then, you can give the bail bonds company a credit card number, or you can send a loved one to the bail bonds office to take care of the paperwork for you. Once you pay your fee, the bail bonds company issues the bail amount to the courts. Then, you are released until your trial date.
If you or a loved one has been arrested, we can help. To learn more, contact us at Affordable Bail Bonds today.