Understanding Bail Bonds When A Loved One Is Put In Jail

If someone you love has been put in jail recently, you can bail them out so they can come home to you. But if this has never happened before, you may not know quite how bail works. Read on to understand how to get a bail bond (from an outlet such as Nickel Bail Bonds) if necessary.

What is Bail?

When someone gets arrested for a crime, they obviously get put in jail. Depending on the severity of the crime, most people can leave jail and resume daily life for a fee (bail) until their court date comes. Since court dates can be days or weeks after the date of arrest, bail is paid to allow the defendant to resume daily activities, such as work, to prevent further hardship.   

Often, someone can get out on bail right after they've been arrested. But for larger crimes like manslaughter or kidnapping with intent to rape, the defendant has to wait a few days for a judge to decide how much bail will be. Once bail is paid, the defendant can go home on good faith that they'll return to court for their hearing.

What are Bail Bonds?

Often, the amount required for bail is more than most people have sitting in their bank accounts. Because of this, you can go to a bail bondsman and get what's called a "bail bond". Essentially, you put down collateral so the bail bondsman will cover bail for you. If the defendant shows up at court, the bail does not have to be paid and all is good. If they don't, then you will automatically owe the bail bondsman that money. If you've ever seen the show Dog the Bounty Hunter, then you know exactly what happens to people who skip out on paying bail…the bondsman pays a bounty hunter to find you or whoever is responsible for paying bail.

How Do I Get a Bail Bond?

You are in charge of getting bail for your loved one so they can be released. If you need a bail bond, you can go to a bail bondsman. They will be supported by an insurance company that promises to pay bail in full if the defendant doesn't show up to court. They won't actually pay bail, but essentially pledge to pay it if necessary. You will be required to pay a 10% premium, which is non-refundable. That is how bail bondsmen make a living. Here are some tips on what to do when you get to the location:

  • Ask to see the bail bondsman's license and ID.
  • Seek a full understanding of itemized charges and request a list.
  • Request receipts and copies of all paper documents created during the transaction.
  • Don't take on any debt that you couldn't afford. It may be necessary to have another family member or friend sign for bail in that situation.

Getting bail can be scary, especially if the fee is multiple figures. As long as the defendant comes to court, you'll be fine.