When to Use a Bail Bondsman
When a person is arrested in California they will likely have the option of posting bail in order to be released from jail while awaiting court appearances. Bail can be posted in one of two ways.
The first involves taking the full amount of a defendant’s bail, via cash or cashier’s check, to the jail in order to bail them out. In this instance, no bail bondsman is needed. The court would hold onto that money as an “insurance policy” that the defendant will appear before a judge for court proceedings relating to the charges filed against them. If the defendant shows up to court as required, his or her bail would eventually be returned to the person who posted it. This process oftentimes takes a number of months and sometimes longer. On the other hand, if the defendant does not comply, the bail money posted will be considered forfeited.The second and more frequently chosen option is to seek out the assistance of an bail bondsman. California bail amounts are amongst the highest in the country. Many people find that beyond what they have available to give to the court.
Bail Bond CostWhen a bail bonds company is used in California, only 10% of the total bail amount is paid in order to be released from jail. That money is non-refundable and is paid to the bail bondsman as a fee for their services.
The reason bail bonds companies charge this fee is because once the bond is posted the company assumes the responsibility that the defendant will appear for court dates. Should the defendant fail to appear, the bail bonds company will have six months to produce the defendant or be forced to face the consequence of paying the full.
Depending on the defendant’s history, employment and/or credit score, the bail bonds company may request that collateral be posted to secure the bond. Collateral would generally be a property in California or cash. If the defendant appears in court as required, the collateral will be returned. If the defendant fails to appear at mandated court proceedings, however, the collateral may be considered forfeited if the defendant cannot be found.
Choosing a Bondsman
If you have a friend or family member who has called requesting assistance in helping get them out of jail, you may want to consider calling an expert bail bondsman to assist you. The bondsman should be able to answer any questions you have about fees, how bail bonds work, whether collateral will be needed to secure one and how long it will take to get someone out of jail.
Many companies are available 24-hours a day, 365-days a year. Some bondsmen can even assist you with online bail bonds.
Ultimately, choosing a bail bondsman is a personal decision. Just be sure that the person you’re moving forward with is one you feel is best suited to help with your particular situation.
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- Jean in Los Angeles