Bail Bond FAQ

A bail bond is a type of bond that promises you will attend future court appearances and pay for the final bail money. A company puts up the bail money to allow you to be released from jail, with a promise to pay it later. This type of bond is known as a surety bond. If you or someone you know is in need of fast bail money and you don’t have the cash, a bail bond is the next best thing. Before you use this type of service, find out more about it with the following frequently asked questions.

How do I bail someone out of jail?

You have two main options: you can either front the money yourself, or visit a bail bond company. Bail bondsmen are often preferred because bail can be set at $10,000 or more. To get your relative or friend out sooner, you pay a percentage of that, instead of the full balance.

How much do I need to pay?

Every state has their own laws and regulations regarding how much you need to put down, similar to a down payment, for a bail bond. For example, in California and many other states, it is at a strict 10 percent. The bail bonds company cannot charge you more than that.

What other requirements are there?

Aside from the down payment, the bail bonds company may also require that you have collateral. This proves you can pay the cost of the bail bond after their court appearance, whether they are found guilty or not guilty. You will be the indemnitor, which is another requirement, and proper documentation and identification is also required. There are usually no other fees to the bail bond company, aside from the 10 percent premium you are putting down.

How long does the bail bonds process take?

This will depend on a lot of factors, but usually less than an hour, and sometimes in as little as 30 minutes. They will forward the paperwork to the jail immediately and your loved one should be released in 1-2 hours.

What responsibilities do I have?

Once you cosign the bail bonds to release your loved one out of jail on bail, you become responsible for them showing up to court appearances and appointments. You are not saying whether they are guilty or not guilty, but promising to pay the bail money back once they finish with their next court date.

What other payment info should I know?

If you don’t have the 10 percent premium to put down for the bail bond, you may be able to submit it in payments. Different bond companies have different requirements for this, such as explaining how you will make payments, showing your good credit history or having especially good collateral. The premium you put down for the bail bond is never refundable; this is the bail bond company’s fee for paying the bail money to get your friend or loved one released. Even if the case is dismissed, this is non-negotiable in most cases.

What money will I get back?

If you didn’t get a bail bond, but paid cash to the jail or court instead, then you may be eligible for the cash bail within 8 weeks. This is if the individual was found not guilty or if the case was dismissed. However, you will not receive your premium back that was paid for the bail bond, if you went this route. It is important not to confuse these two things.

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