If you get a call from a friend or loved one who is being held in jail and they are asking to be bailed out, you need to understand a few things before handing over your hard-earned money. Of course, a lot will depend on the amount of bail needed -- if it is a large amount, you may need to go to a bail bondsman. This can lead to even more questions you need to be answered. Here are a few things to help you understand what will happen and how/if you will get your money back.
Bail is money that the court holds to allow a person who has been charged with a crime to be released with the promise of showing up to court. A judge determines how much the bail is depending upon the charges. If there was a warrant for failure to appear in court or pay a traffic ticket the bail amount is usually the ticket amount plus any administrative fees. This means the money will not be returned unless the person appears in court and the charges and fines are reduced. If you are concerned about getting this money back, make sure you ask your friend how and when it will be repaid.
When the bail is too high for you to pay and you can't get the money from other friends, you will need to get a bail bond. Generally, the bond company will require a percentage of the bail to be paid upfront as their fee. If the bail is very large they may require more money upfront or ask for some type of collateral. This could be the title to your car or a lien on your home. As long as the friend shows up to all court appearances, you will get back any money paid upfront other than the bond fee or anything the court keeps for fees and fines. However, if the person misses a court appearance, you better be able to take them in and arrange for a new court date or you will be out everything.
Small bail amounts should not be a big deal to pay for a good friend. However, putting your home up for collateral is something entirely different. Make sure you know the person will make all court dates. Of course, if one is missed then the bondsman will send out an apprehension agent. Remember, they give the money to the court and will be out the entire amount if someone fails to appear. They really don't want to have to take your home and sell it to get their money back.
For more information, contact companies like First Choice Bail Bonds.