Although someone is arrested every three seconds across the US, many people think that it isn’t something that can happen to them or someone they know. However, the reality is that an arrest can touch the lives of anyone regardless of age or socioeconomic status.
If your loved one or friend was arrested, you may be frantically wondering how to bail someone out of jail. Read on for a step-by-step guide on how to get someone out of jail as they await their court hearing.
1. Understand What Bail Is
You likely have heard the term “bail” before on TV or in books. However, you may not know what exactly it means despite understanding the general concept.
When you bail someone out of jail, you pay a set amount of money to the court system. Once the bail is posted, the defendant that you bailed out will be able to wait for their courtroom trial at home. They would otherwise need to wait for their trial in jail, possibly for months.
If the defendant shows up to court for their hearing, the bail money will be returned to the poster. If they do not show up, the money will never be returned. It’s essentially a tool to encourage the defendant to show up to court for their own legal proceedings.
2. Gather Basic Information
You generally will post bail after hearing about the arrest. Usually, this will take place when the defendant calls you from jail. You may also be told about the arrest by another person that they called.
If you don’t know where the person that requires bail is, it’s important that you find out. Make sure that you ask the defendant (or a loved one who knows more details) where the arrest happened. Tell them to give you a specific city name and, if possible, police department.
From there, you can call the police department that made the arrest. Ask them to put you in contact with the jail where your loved one is being held. Once you are communicating with the jail, ask for the defendant’s booking status.
You only need to post bail if they are to remain in jail after booking. If they are released after booking, there’s no need for you to put any money down. Contact your loved one and ask about other ways you can support them.
3. Learn About Your Defendant’s Situation
So, how much does bail cost?
The amount of money required to bail someone out will depend on the individual defendant and their circumstances. The main factor that courts consider when determining a bail amount is the nature of the crime. Some crimes will have higher bail than others, and many violent offenses do not even qualify for bail.
Courts will also look at the defendant’s criminal record and employment history. If someone has committed many crimes, bail will likely be higher. If someone has a good reputation and steady employment, it will likely be lower.
Learn about the specific circumstances of your loved one and ask how much their bail is. This will give you an idea of how much you can pay.
4. Get Bail Bonds
If you do not have the funds to post bail for a defendant, there are still options available to you. Bail bonds are one of the best ways that you can get the money required for bail. These surety bonds are given to you through a bail agent/bondsman so that you can have someone released from jail.
After a judge sets the bail amount, you can reach out to a bail bondsman to discuss your situation. You’ll pay a fee of usually around 15% of the bail out of pocket to the bondsman. The bondsman will then post the entire amount of the bail.
Once the defendant appears to all court appearances, the bail bond liability terminates. The bondsman keeps the percentage that you covered as payment for their services.
5. Await Trial
After you post bail at the jail where your loved one is held, you will be allowed to take them home. They will be released from custody so that you can bring them back using your own vehicle or other transportation. The jail will not drive them home.
When awaiting trial, different defendants will need to follow different terms and conditions. Most will be under some form of house arrest. They will have a curfew and only be allowed to visit certain locations.
Make sure that your loved one follows the terms of their bail. This means wearing their ankle bracelet if necessary and not consuming alcohol or drugs.
You also will want to arrange for transportation on the morning of their trial. If the defendant does not make it to their hearing, you will need to pay the bail bond sum back to the bondsman. Bailing someone out requires trust.
Check in with them regularly to make sure that they are doing well. Remind them of the trial date when it approaches. Make sure that they are comfortable and happy while awaiting their hearing; after all, that’s the point of bail.
Beyond How to Bail Someone Out of Jail
While learning how to bail someone out of jail may sound like a challenge, the process is actually very simple. This is especially true if you talk to a licensed agent about the bail process before putting down any money.
We’re committed to ensuring that your loved one is able to await their court date with dignity and in peace. Contact us to request a free consultation with one of our experienced bail bondsmen today.