Believe it or not, about 339 out of 100,000 people in North Carolina get sentenced to jail time. Only a fraction of those incarcerated will get awarded bail while they await their trial and final sentencing.
Just getting awarded bail doesn’t mean you’ll be able to get out of jail. You still have to come up with the money!
If you’re like most people, finding enough cash to pay the court can be almost impossible. Working with a bail bonds company can make it much more affordable.
However, not all companies work the same way. Here are a few key questions you need to ask before you agree to work with a bail bondsman.
1. What Will You Charge for Your Services?
When you apply for a bail bond, you’re expected to pay a certain percentage of the total bail amount to secure the loan. This helps show the bail bonds company that you’re serious about the loan and protects them if you end up not paying the bond back in full.
This amount is usually paid in cash when you apply for the bond. However, if you can’t afford a cash payment, you may be able to use your personal property as collateral.
The total percentage of the bail that you’ll pay will vary from company to company.
Your payment should be fair and shouldn’t break the bank, but you will have to make some kind of payment for the bond. Ask every company you speak with about their rates and their fees.
Look for one that you can comfortably afford and don’t be afraid to ask about any payment plans that can help reduce the financial strain you’ll face.
2. Are You Able to Help in My Location?
Bail bonds companies serve specific locations. This means the first company you find may not be able to help you if you’re held in a separate county or city.
Before you agree to any terms, ask the bondsman if they’re able to help in your location. If they’re not, keep looking.
You can also save yourself the stress and look for a company that serves the entire state rather than a single location. This way, you’ll know your loved one will get their bail posted as quickly as possible without any delays in processing.
3. Are You a Member of the Better Business Bureau?
When it comes to working with a bail bonds company, you want to make sure they’re experienced. The best way to do this is to look at their online reviews and see what their previous clients have to say about their services.
During your first phone call, find out if the company is a member of the Better Business Bureau (BBB). If they’re a member, it shows that they care about their reputation and will work to make sure every client feels satisfied with their services.
If their score is high, you can expect the same quality service. However, if the company’s overall score on the BBB is low or you see frequent issues and complaints, keep looking.
4. Are You Licensed?
Bail bonds are a regulated industry in most states. This means you want to work with a licensed bail bondsman at all times.
Before you agree to work with anyone, make sure they’re licensed to operate in the state. If they’re not, you have no way of guaranteeing that the company will provide bail and stand by the terms of the agreement.
If the company you’re considering working with won’t provide proof of their license or tells you they’re not licensed, keep looking. It can save you time, money, and frustration.
5. What Size Bail Bonds Do You Provide?
Believe it or not, some bail bond services only offer bonds on certain amounts of bail. Some only work with small bail amounts while others only provide bonds for high-dollar bail amounts.
With the average bail amount in the United States running about $10,000, you need to find a company that can cover the full amount.
When speaking with a representative, make sure to mention the amount of bail you need to qualify for release. Then, make sure the company can provide a bond in the full amount that you want to borrow.
If they can’t or have limits that are too low, keep looking.
6. How Quickly Can You Get Me Out of Jail?
The correct answer is “it depends.” Any bail bonds agent that provides a firm estimate of how quickly they can get you out of jail isn’t someone you should trust.
Remember, every situation is different. The bail bondsman can only tell you how quickly they can get their end of the bail process done. They can’t control how quickly the jail will process the release request.
Every jail has its own average processing time. Reputable bail bondsmen will be able to tell you how long the jail typically takes, but they can’t give you an exact time for your release. The jail will release you when they deem it safe and not a minute sooner.
This can feel frustrating, but you can have confidence in the fact that you will get released as soon as possible.
7. What Happens Once I Get Out?
Once you get released from jail, you’re expected to attend all hearings and court dates on-time. Your bail bond service should explain what you need to do to satisfy the terms of your bail.
They should also explain what will happen if you miss your court dates or violate other terms of your release. If you have any questions, make sure you get the answers you need before you sign any paperwork.
Don’t Wait to Get the Help You Need
Covering the full amount of bail on your own can put a serious financial strain on your loved ones.
If the judge awards you or your loved one bail, don’t struggle to come up with the money you need. Work with an experienced bail bonds company and get your release processed as quickly as possible.
Contact us immediately and let our team help. We’re available 24 hours a day and can work with you no matter where you’re located in North Carolina.