Getting bail money for a felony offense can be a daunting task. What does it mean to have to pay bail money? Where do you get the money? How do you make sure that you are working with someone who is trustworthy?
Paying Bail versus Getting a Bond
If you are in jail and are told you need to pay a bail amount to be released until your court date, then you are paying "bail" if you have the money (or can get the money from a relative or friend) and pay it yourself. This is also termed being "bailed out".
If you don't have the money, then you need to somehow get the money to pay the bail set by the court. A bail bonds company can pay your bail provided that you provide something in collateral for that payment, such as a car or house. The bail bonds company usually requires a 10% payment of the total, court-set bail amount. When the bail bonds company pays your bail amount, the company is guaranteeing that it will pay the rest if you decide to flee instead of making your court appearance.
How Do You Select a Bail Bonds Company?
If this is your first offense, you probably don't know which bail bonds company you should use. Your lawyer may be able to suggest a reputable one that would meet your needs.
If you have to find one on your own, for example if you are the one providing the bail for someone who is in jail, then you should look for some key things:
- The bail bonds company should be licensed — this doesn't mean exactly what you think. Licensed means that a bail bonds agent has met certain educational requirements to write bonds for an insurance company, but it does show they have spent the effort to be licensed
- The bonding agent should have an established relationship with the court. Having such a relationship makes it easier for the agent to post bond for existing and new clients and means that the agent can most efficiently post your (or your relative's) bond to facilitate a release from jail
- The bonding agent should have a physical office showing that he or she is established in the business
- The bonding agent or company should be registered with and rated by the Better Business Bureau
- There should be customer ratings on the bond company's website or in common websites that provide consumer reviews
You never want to be in a situation where you have to pay bail. But it pays to know the difference between bail and a bond as well as how to make sure you pick a reputable bail bonds company.
For more information, contact Absolute Bail Bonds or a similar company.