Need to Bail Someone Out of Jail?

If you ever find yourself in the unenviable position of receiving a collect call from the county jail, you’re probably about to be asked to bail someone out of jail.

Before you hang up the phone make sure you obtain the following information:

•    The person’s full name and birth date.
•    The name of the jail where they are being held.
•    The total amount the judge has set for their bail.
•    What the person has been charged with.
•    When and where they were arrested.

5 Steps to Get Someone out of Jail

   Call the Jail. The first step in getting someone out of jail is to call the jail and ask a booking agent if the person’s bail is cash only. A judge will assign a cash only bail if the defendant has skipped out on court before or has unpaid fines from a previous case. Bail bondsmen do not offer cash only bail bonds. If the person is a repeat offender, a cash only bond is added security that the person will be seen at their court date.

2.    Cash Only Bails have to be paid at the jail to the exact amount. Courts do not give change. The defendant must then show the bail slip to the judge, as bail payments can take up to two weeks to be processed otherwise. Once the bail has been paid the defendant will be released.

3.    Pay the full bail out of pocket if you can. Whether the bail is deemed cash only or not, if you or the defendant can afford to pay the full bail amount you should take this option. Once the person has accomplished their legal requirements, bail is paid back to whoever posted it; the money is not kept by the court. If you use a bail bondsman, you will need to pay them a fee for their services that are not refundable. 

4.    Contact a Bail Bondsman. If you cannot afford to post the entire bail amount, contact a bail bondsman. Do some research before calling, and don’t agree to terms with a bondsman that feels unprofessional, pushy or isn’t easy to work with. You can negotiate the terms of your agreement; so don’t sign up for anything that you are not comfortable with.

Understand that by singing a bail agreement on someone’s behalf makes you responsible for making sure they show up at their court date. If they don’t show, you will be responsible for the entire bail amount.

What is a bail bond? A bail bond is an agreement that the bail bondsman will pay for the defendant’s release in exchange for a non-refundable fee and a signed guarantee that the defendant will show up to court. Either the defendant or a co-signer has to offer up collateral to back the bail agreement. Bondsman prefer to bring in a friend or family member of the defendant as a co-signer in hopes that the defendant will feel morally obligated to follow through with their court dates.

5.    Once the bail is paid the defendant is released. If and when they comply with their legal responsibilities the court will give the bail money back to the person who posted it. If a person does not get bailed out they will not be getting out of jail until after their case is tried. This could take weeks or months, even for minor crimes.

Posted by Javi Calderon, on March 30, 2012 at 12:33 PM