Three Things to Do Before Taking Out a Bail Bond

Posted on: 13 February 2020

If a friend or family member is in jail, it's understandable that they want to get out of jail as quickly as possible. They still have familial or employment responsibilities that they need to tend to. In many cases, before someone can get out of jail, they have to post their bond.

A bail bond is the amount of money that an accused person must pay to get out of jail. Once they make all their court appearances, they get the money back. If someone is short on cash, an alternative is to take out a bail bond. 

A bail bond allows you to pay a percentage of the stated bail amount (typically 10 percent), while the bail bondsman posts the rest of the bail. For example, if bail is set at $5,000, you would only have to pay $500, and the bail bondsman would pay the remaining $4,500. You don't get the portion of the bail that you pay back; instead, this covers your fee for the bail bond. Before you take out a bail bond, here are three things you need to do.

1. See If the Bail Bondsman Requires Collateral

Depending on the size of the bond, some bail bond services require collateral. Collateral can come in numerous forms, but some of the most common types are homes, vehicles, and jewelry. If the defendant doesn't make their court appearances, the bail bondsman may seize the collateral to cover the funds that they posted for their bail. 

2. Ask If the Bail Bond Requires a Cosigner 

In cases where one person doesn't have ample collateral to cover the amount of the bond, a cosigner may be required. A cosigner is an individual who agrees to be legally responsible for the amount of the bond if the defendant skips court. Since multiple people are signing for the bail bond, the bail bond service is able to increases its chances of collecting the amount of bail if the defendant is a no-show. 

3. Understand the Accused's Responsibilities

Before you agree to take out a bail bond for someone, make sure that you understand what the accused has to do to satisfy the bail requirements. The bail obligation is not satisfied until these responsibilities are complete. The defendant may have multiple court appearances that need to be fulfilled, or they might need to wear a monitoring device. They might need to submit to regular drug and alcohol tests.

If you have any concerns about the accused not fulfilling these responsibilities, it might be best to avoid taking out a bail bond for them.