It's never fun to get that late night call from a friend or family member telling you that he/she has been arrested. The call usually means one thing: The responsibility of getting him/her out of jail has been placed on you. This process is fairly easy, though potentially expensive, depending on the charges. Here is how to bail someone out of jail.
- Skill level:
Call the jail where the person is being held and ask to speak to someone in booking. Ask the booking officer whether or not it is a Cash Bond Only situation. In the case of a cash bond, you cannot go through a bail bondsman.
Ask for the amount of the cash bond and find out when you can pick the person up.
Arrive at the jail with cash in hand. Most, if not all detention centers will not accept personal checks.
Speak to the booking officer and pay the full amount of the cash bond. Once the person has been formally released, he/she will be released into your care.
Contact a bail bond agency, if the court does not set a cash bond. Sometimes bail is set at an amount that will be hard to come up with, and this is when the bail bond agency comes into service.
Be prepared to answer a lot of questions. When a bail bond agency writes bail for a person, they are basically drawing up an insurance contract that says the person posting bail will show up at his/her appointed court date. Agencies need to be sure that they are not taking a risk on a person who will flee upon release.
Inform the bondsman of your relationship to the person in jail. You also need to let them know how long the person has been in jail (if they've been in jail longer than a day or two, they can be seen as risk factors for various reasons).
Arrange with the bondsman to pay at least ten percent of the bail amount (this is the standard rate in most places).
Wait for the bondsman to draw up the necessary paperwork. If the bond is approved, the person will be released into your care. As the person who requested the bail bond, it is your responsibility to ensure that the person shows up for his/her court date. Otherwise, you could be responsible for the full bail amount.
Tips and warnings
- Bailing someone out of jail can be quite costly. Do not agree to bailing him/her out unless the money you're putting up will be easy to part with. With court costs and lawyers, it may be a while before the person can pay you back.