Posted: 6 March 2018
At any single moment, there are over 700,000 jailed inmates in the United States.
But not every inmate is guilty of a crime. In fact, 60% of inmates in American jails haven’t seen trial yet, and the vast majority of these people don’t have enough money to post bail.
Do you have a close friend or relative who needs to get out of jail? Keep reading to learn how you can make the bail process go as smoothly as possible!
Gain a Basic Understanding of How Bail Works
A judge sets bail either during an arraignment or bail hearing. While a hearing must occur within 48 hours after an arrest, weekends and holidays usually don’t count toward this time period.
Once the amount is set by the judge, an arrestee can get out of jail by posting bail. Let’s take a look at the three most common types of bail.
As the name suggests, this option involves paying the full bail amount in cash. The individual who posts a cash bail will receive a refund, minus administrative fees, if the defendant appears in court.
When a defendant cannot afford to pay their bail, they often rely on a surety bond to get out of jail. Obtaining a surety bond involves reaching out to a bail bond agent backed by a surety company. After receiving a small portion of the bail upfront, the bondsman can agree to pay the entire value in cash.
It’s important to note, however, that commercial bail bonding is illegal in many states.
Some states allow the use of property bonds. With a property bond, the court places a lien against the property for the value of the bail.
A court-appointed appraiser is usually necessary to determine the value of a property. But a tax document may suffice as well.
Pay the Bail Yourself
If you have enough money to pay your friend’s bail, consider doing so. This may help you save money in the end, as you’ll get a refund if the state drops the case or your friend gets acquitted. But find out where they’re detained first.
In some cases, the court may accept credit cards or checks. Check the court’s website to see if you can pay the bail over the phone or online.
After you pay, your friend still has to go through the booking process before they’re released.
Reach Out to a Bondsman
If you can’t afford to pay cash, you also have the option of getting help from a bail bondsman. Just make sure to check if commercial bail bonds are legal in your state.
Most bondsmen have staff available around the clock. For example, Amistad Bail Bonds is open 24 hours a day.
Visit several bail bondsman websites, and set up a free consultation with one that’s in good standing with the Better Business Bureau (BBB).
Bail bond agents typically ask you to give them around 10% to 15% of the full bail amount. In return, they’ll cover the rest.
Final Thoughts on Getting Your Friend Out of Jail
Once your friend is out on bail, make sure to get them home safely, and keep a close watch on them. If they fail to show up for their scheduled court date, you won’t receive any of your bail amount back.
Keep in mind that if there are multiple counts, you’ll need to post bail for each one. In some cases, it may take a few hours to process and release someone if there’s an overloaded jail staff.
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