Do you have a friend who recently landed in hot water with the law? Are you considering bailing your friend out of jail? While it is a seemingly heroic move and your friend will likely appreciate the gesture, there are a few things you need to know before you race to the rescue.
Bring Enough Money
In most situations, you are required to pay 10% of the bail set. For example, if your friend's bail is set at $1,000, you will have to pay a bail bondsman a fee of $100. Make sure you have enough cash on you to cover the amount you will have to pay. You can typically ask the jail how much your friend's bail is in order to determine how much you will have to pay the bondsman.
If this is your friend's first time committing a crime, the amount you have to pay may be reduced. If you are having a hard time coming up with enough money to bail your friend out of jail, you may talk to the bondsman about setting up a payment plan. Some of them are willing to accept payments, particularly if you have a credit card or checking account to use as a reliable payment source.
If the bondsman does not offer payment plans, you may be able to offer items as collateral for your amount of bail. For example, some bondsman may be willing to accept valuables such as jewelry or a car as a form of collateral toward the bail payment. Make sure you make your payment as soon as possible to avoid losing your belongings.
Bring Your Friend to Court
Make sure your friend appears in court according to the time and date set. The bail bondsman may be able to provide you with this information prior to your friend's release. If your friend fails to appear in court, the bondsman may come after you for additional fees, since you are the one that initially paid and signed for the bail.
If you currently have a job, make arrangements with your employer to take the time off work so you can ensure your friend arrives at the courthouse on time. That is not to say that your friend would not go on his or her own, but it is in your benefit to make sure. Should your friend either skip the court date or accidentally forget about it, you could find yourself facing surprising and unnecessary fees.
Bring the Correct Information
In order to bail your friend out of jail, you will need important information on hand such as your friend's full name, social security number, and date of birth. The bail bondsman will be able to tell you exactly how much money is owed at the time you bail your friend out as long as you supply the personal information requested.
If you are unsure of your friend's personal information, such as social security number and exact date of birth, you could arrange to meet the bondsman at the jail where your friend is being held. In fact, it is pretty common for bondsman to meet at the jail rather than their office or anywhere else for that matter.
Make sure you also have your information handy, particularly an ID, so the bondsman can identify who you are at the time you make the bail payment. Make sure all of the information you supply the bondsman is as truthful and accurate as possible.
If you need more assistance regarding your friend's bail, contact a bondsman near you. They can assist you in determining if bailing your friend out of jail is the best approach given the amount you would have to pay and the severity of the crime your friend committed.