The call comes in the middle of the night. A friend or relative has been arrested, and they desperately hope they can depend on you to help them arrange a bail bond and subsequent release from jail.
You may feel obligated to help them, but you are unsure whether you should. You wonder what risks you are accepting, should you agree.
The following information can help you know what to expect when using the bail bond system and how to minimize any risks to you.
- Determine the Facts Before Agreeing
The first thing to consider when a relative or friend approaches you to help free them jail by using the bail bond system is whether doing so is a positive step. A good way to make this decision is to consider:
- Has the relative or friend been arrested before?
- Are you comfortable helping them, given the current charge?
- Do you feel you can trust them to honor the conditions of the bond?
Additionally, you will want to consider whether the friend or relative will repay you for cost of the bail bond agent’s fee or any bond paid directly to the court.
- Decide Whether the Risks Are Acceptable
If you have decided to move ahead with helping your relative or friend get out of jail, the next step is to learn about the potential risks and decide whether the risk is an acceptable one.
The first thing to determine is the cost that you will be expected to pay. In most areas of the United States with bail bond services, the agent’s fee is 10 percent of the amount of actual bond amount. For instance, a bond amount of $10,000 would require $1,000.
If the charge is a federal offense instead of a state, county, or municipal one, the fee is typically more, usually 15 percent. The agent’s fee is due immediately and must be paid before the arrested party can be released.
- Discuss the Conditions of the Bond
The conditions of the bond can vary widely, depending upon the arresting agency and court system, the seriousness of the crime, and any criminal history that your friend or relative has.
Failing to abide by the conditions of the bond agreement can require payment of the remaining 90 percent of the bond with a state case or the remaining 85 percent on a federal case. Failure can also send your friend or relative straight back to jail and create additional legal issues to resolve. So it is very important that all parties understand and agree to the conditions of the bond and any consequences that will apply for failure to honor them.
- Decide on Your Best Option for Covering the Fee
The call for help from a friend or relative may not occur during a time when you can comfortably assist them with the bond without disrupting your household. Such conditions do not necessarily mean that you cannot help them. However, you may need to look for another option to cover the bail bond agent’s fee.
Bail bond agents can work with you to accept other assets for this purpose, including:
- Real estate with sufficient equity
- Vehicles, boats, campers, motorcycles, farm equipment, and so forth.
- Jewelry, rare coins, and some types of valuable collectibles
- Investments, such as stocks and bonds
- Credit cards
Signing a bail bond agreement for a needy friend or relative doesn’t have to be frightening. If you have questions about the bail bond process in your area or need to post a bail bond for yourself, a friend, or loved one, we hope you will choose to contact one of our friendly agents at Affordable Bail Bonds.
We are always ready to answer your questions, day or night, and help you find a solution that you are comfortable with.