Getting a phone call that a loved one is behind bars, even for a minor traffic charge, can be a harrowing experience. However, if a judge sets a bail amount for the offense, you have options for getting your relative or friend out of jail. First, you must contact a licensed bail bond agency to get the ball rolling on freeing someone from incarceration. If you have never had to bail someone out of jail before in Nevada, the following primer can help you navigate the process of posting bond.
When Can You Post Bail?
As soon as a judge sets the bail amount, you can post a bond to free someone. Bail bond agencies are typically open 24 hours day all year long. Consequently, you can help a relative or friend get out of jail at any time so they do not have to spend the night in a cell.
If the offense is more serious than a traffic violation, you should also consult a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible, especially if you think the bail amount is excessive. The lawyer can petition the court to lower the bail amount on behalf of the defendant.
How Can You Pay For A Bail Bond?
Do not be discouraged if the amount of a bail bond is thousands of dollars. You do not have to pay the entire amount to dismiss a warrant or to get someone out of jail. You pay a percentage of the bail amount to a bail bond agent with the guarantee that the person behind bars will appear in court for their scheduled hearing.
The agent will post the full amount of bail bond. The court reimburses the agent when the case is over. It does not matter if the defendant is found innocent or guilty, the court will discharge the full amount of the bond to the agent.
Reputable bail bond agencies accept several different forms of payment including:
- Credit card
- Debit card
- Wire Transfer
- Money Order
- Collateral such as real estate, property and other valuables
Since bail bond agencies take credit cards and wire transfers, you can even arrange to pay for a bond over the phone. If you are low on funds, you may be able to work out a payment plan with the bail bond agency to accommodate your specific financial situation.
What If The Defendant Misses A Court Date By Mistake?
Call the bail bond agency as soon as possible if the defendant inadvertently misses a court date, obtains a rescheduled hearing and is not in danger of being re-arrested. Otherwise, you will be liable for the full amount of the bond.
Some bail bond agencies will attempt to contact you and the defendant before charging you the full amount of the bond. However, others may hire a fugitive recovery service to find the defendant so they can recover the cost of the bond.
Are There State Restrictions On Bail Amounts And How Agents Can Help Clients?
While the Eighth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution provides general guidelines on how bonds should be set, each state has specific laws regarding how much a bail bond agency can charge. In Nevada, bail bond agencies are required to charge 15 percent of the total bail amount or $50, whichever is the higher amount.
It is illegal for bail bond agencies in Nevada to charge any premiums or renewal fees over the state-set amount. In addition, state laws determine how bail bond agencies advertise their services and interact with courts and law enforcement officials.
Also, bail bond agencies are prohibited from providing legal advice to clients. If you need counsel, stick with obtaining advice from an attorney.
How Can You Tell If A Bail Bond Agency Is Reputable?
All bail agents in Nevada must have a state license. In order to receive the license the agent must pass a criminal background check, pass a state exam, pay a state fee, undergo a psychological evaluation, provide the results of a drug test, be a state resident and complete continuing education courses for license renewal.
The Nevada Division of Insurance provides a free agency search database of licensed bail bond companies online.
For more information, contact a company like All Star Bail Bonds.