Getting a call from a friend or family member asking for help bailing out of jail can be disconcerting, to say the least. It can also be a very daunting task for those who have never had to navigate the criminal justice system to get someone released from incarceration. If you're in this situation, here's what you should do.
Ask Pertinent Questions
When you bail someone out of jail, you're taking responsibility for them. It's important to understand this because, if the defendant fails to show up for court, you will lose any money you paid to bail them out of jail and may be on the hook for other damages. Thus, there are several questions you should ask before agreeing to help them:
Once you've decided you are willing and able to help, you'll need to get some practical details as well, such as:
This information is necessary for making sure bail is paid at the right place and on the right account. If you're using a bail bond service, contact the company to see if any additional info is required.
Shop for the Most Convenient Bondsman
While many courts let you pay cash directly to them for bail, it's best to use a third-party agency to get someone out of jail. The primary reason is that it's typically cheaper. You only need to pay a small fraction (generally 10 to 20 percent) of the total bail amount. The bondsman provides the rest.
The second reason is the company will handle the process of getting the defendant released, so you don't have to deal with all the red tape involved. You only need to shop for the bondsman who provides the services most convenient for you. For instance, many agencies take credit card payments over the phone and online and will email you the contract to sign, so you can do everything from the comfort of your home.
Bailing someone out of jail is a task few people enjoy, but having a local bail agency help you can make the process easier. Contact a company like Steele Boys Bail Bonds to learn more.
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