If you’re like most people, chances are that you’ve never been asked to bail someone out of jail before. Furthermore, chances are that you’ve also never needed someone to bail youout of jail. But just in case you ever do find yourself in such a predicament, most folks might recommend that you call a bail bondsman first. While a call to a licensed bail bondsman is a great way to go, it’s important to know a few things before you decide to reach out to a bonding agent for help.


A Bail Bond is a Loan

Sure, they offer 24/7 access to a wise, experienced professional who can advocate on your behalf in order to help make the stay in jail as short as possible, but it’s also important to know that a bail bond is a short-term loan. In exchange for the bail money the bondsman puts up to serve as a surety bond to ensure that the defendant appears for their future court date, the defendant – or someone acting on their behalf – needs to provide the money necessary in order to be released (generally, a fee that’s equal to 10% of the bond amount). Once the bond has been paid, the defendant is released from jail.


Cash Isn’t Always Necessary

In some cases, it’s possible that the defendant – or the person acting on their behalf – doesn’t have the 10% fee, if that’s the case, they must offer what’s known as bail collateral. The collateral is used to cover the bondman’s potential cost of getting the defendant back to jail if they don’t appear for their court date. Because the risk associated with each case is unique, it’s up to the individual bonding agent to determine just how much collateral, if any, would be necessary. Any physical assets that are wholly owned can be used. Items such as cars, boats, real estate, stocks, bonds or most anything else of value can be offered up as collateral.


Whoever Pays Bail is Ultimately Responsible for the Loan

On the other hand, if the defendant skips bail(doesn’t show up for their scheduled court date), the court deems that the bond is in default, requiring whoever put up the bail to either present the defendant before the court or pay the full amount on the defendant’s behalf. At that time, the responsible party can either pay the amount or ask the court for the time necessary to find the defendant. Bonding agents generally utilize the services of an authorized bounty hunter to track the defendant down in order to bring them before the judge.


Bottom Line: Consult with a Reputable Bail Bondsman

Regardless of whether or not you decide to use a bail bondsman to get someone out of jail, don’t underestimate their experience and knowledge as valuable resources with whom to discuss your particular situation. Ultimately, professional bail bondsmen are more than happy to assist whenever you need them to help you out of even the most trying times.