Bail bondsman services can be a real lifesaver when a person is arrested and does not have enough ready cash to make bail. Instead of meeting the full bail amount, a percentage fee is paid to the bail bondsman to secure release. The bondsman then covers the remainder of the fee with the court system. Before using the services of a bail bondsman, there are a few points to consider and information to have ready.
Many bail bond services are located near local jails or courthouses due to the frequency of visits over the course of a day or week. A phone call is generally sufficient to start the process and coordinate an in-person visit. They need the name of the person arrested, date of arrest, charges, place of detention, location of arrest, and, when possible, booking numbers to expedite the process. From there, they can review local court documents to determine if bail has been set and the bail cost and provide further details regarding the next steps.
Following an arrest, some suspects are released right away on recognizance and do not need to place bail. Some charges have bail set by default while others require a court appearance that may be the same day or up to a set time period later. Some judicial districts limit the timeframe for an initial appearance to 48 hours while others, such as Louisiana, defer to 72-hour hearings as the standard. Unless bail is denied based on mitigating circumstances, such as flight risk status, it is set at this point.
The suspect can contact a bail bondsman independently to coordinate service when resources allow, but generally, it is better accomplished by a third party who can gather finances for the bond fee and provide any collateral documentation. A lawyer or trusted friend or family member can assist in securing release.
If bail is set at $10,000, the total may be too high to pay solo, so a bail bondsman can help. According to NOLO, the standard fee on a bond is 10%, and there may be added costs to initiate the bond. For $1,000 paid to the bondsman, they provide a surety bond for the remaining $9,000 and generally accept collateral as a form of security. The 10% fee is non-refundable due to the risk incurred by the company. Should a suspect not appear in court when scheduled, the bondsman would lose the funds and initiate a search for the person in an effort to recover the money.
Contact a bail bondsman for more information.