An email inquiry that came in to us just a couple weeks ago:

I’m hoping you can answer a few questions for me regarding a trip to Las Vegas that my 21-year-old son and some friends are taking in a few weeks to celebrate a friend’s 21st birthday. As you can probably guess, my husband and I are rather nervous about the prospect of this trip, given the locale, the potential for alcohol, and the distance from home. Though we shudder at the thought of anything serious happening while they’re away in Vegas, our parental paranoia has gotten the best of us and we can’t help but be thinking ahead to the prospect of our son (or one of his friends) ending up in jail so far away from us. What do we need to know about bailing someone out of jail across state lines? Thank you.

-Denise, Atlanta

Denise,

We understand all too well how terrifying an arrest can be, even when close to the comfort of home. Add to that fear the complication and distance of working across state lines and time zones, and it becomes even more bewildering, especially for a parent who’s feeling helpless thousands of miles away. It’s not impossible, but it does require a couple extra measures.

First Things First

Find out where the defendant is being held and ask if it’s possible to post bail over the phone or via some other means. While some jurisdictions might require bail payments be made in person, most allow remote payments or co-signing for a defendant — in a case such as this when a parent might be bailing a child out, for example — across state lines. If they require that bail be posted in person, you’ll need to find a bail bondsman or a bonding agent that’s local to their jurisdiction in order for them to work for you on your behalf.

Find a Local Bail Bondsman

Since bail bonding agents are licensed by each individual state’s insurance commission, most bail bondsmen are only allowed to work within the state where they’re licensed. A simple Internet search will net you the results you need in order to find a licensed bonding agent near where the defendant is being held. A local bail bondsman will not only know all the laws and guidelines specific to that jurisdiction, but they’ll go over all your options with you to help your loved one in their time of need.