Bailing someone out of jail may seem like something that only happens in the movies — until suddenly, your friend calls you at 10:00 pm and asks if you can post bail to get them out of jail. In this situation, you probably have a few questions for your friend, such as, "What did you do?" and "Are you actually guilty?" You can get answers to those questions once your friend is out. What you need right now is answers to the questions you have about bail and bail bonds — so you can do what your friend has asked of you.
Can anyone bail a person out of jail?
Basically, yes. You do have to be 18 years old, but beyond that, your relationship to the person you're bailing out does not matter. You can bail out a friend, family member, or someone you just met yesterday. The court will not ask for any evidence of your relationship with the jailed individual. If they ask to see your license, that's just to verify your identity and age.
How much does bail cost?
That depends on the type of crime your friend is being accused of committing. If they committed a rather minor crime like vandalism, the court may be asked for a few hundred dollars' bail. If they're being accused of murder or assault, they may be asking for $20,000 or more.
What if you do not have the money to bail your friend out?
If you don't have the money, you really have two options. You can tell your friend you don't have the money and recommend that they call someone else. Or you can contact a bail bond agent. A bail bond agent is a professional who makes a living bailing people out of jail. You will pay them a fee equal to about 10% of the bail amount (or sometimes less if the bail is really high). They will front the money to bail your friend out, and they'll keep the fee you paid them, too.
Where can you find a bail bond company?
If you plan on contacting a bail bond company to bail out your friend, ask the jail or court for recommendations. They probably have a few agents they deal with regularly, and they can tell you who is reputable.
Will you get your money back when your friend shows up to court?
The idea behind bail is that the person posting bail gets the money returned to them when the jailed individual shows up to their trial date. So if you end up being the one to post bail, you will be the one who gets the money returned to them. However, if you hire a bail bond company, the money will go back to the bail bond company. The money you paid to the bail bond company won't be returned to you, either. This money was a fee charged by the bond agent, not the actual bail.
What happens if your friend does not show up to their court date?
If you post bail and your friend does not show up, you won't get your bail money back. If you hire a bail bond company, it's the bail bond company that's in hot water if your friend does not return. This is one reason why some people hire a bail bond company even if they can afford bail on their own. It's an extra level of protection for you in a financial sense, and a good choice if you're not 100% confident that your friend will return for their court date.
For more information, get in touch with a bail bonds company.
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