If you or someone you know has been arrested, there’s usually little doubt that you (or they) would like to be out of jail as soon as possible. It’s a scary experience that can leave someone feeling helpless, confused, and isolated. Getting out of jail is usually the very first plan of action in such a circumstance.

In order to be released, a judge must first set a bail amount for the defendant. Bail is money or some form of valuable property that is pledged to a court in order to secure the temporary release of the accused as they await trial. If the accused has the funds to post bail, they may do so to gain release from jail.

Don’t Have Bail Money?

If they do not have money for bail, however, the defendant (or their representative) should garner the assistance of a bonding company, also known as a bail bondsman to post the bail for them in the form of a surety bond. Basically, the bonding company guarantees the full bail amount to the court and charges the defendant a fee – generally 10% of the bail amount – called a bail bond premium. While the fees aren’t refundable, the defendant is able to get out of jail for much less than the full bail amount.

Don’t Have the 10%?

If you’re lacking the funds necessary to even pay the bond, most bonding companies will allow you the opportunity to negotiate the terms of the bond. In addition, there are a few options available to you if you don’t have the 10% bail bond premium required.

  • Collateral – While most anything with a high resale value (that’s fully-owned) can be used as collateral, it ultimately depends on the individual bonding agent and what they’re willing to accept. In almost every instance, homes and land can be used, with the understanding that the property can be foreclosed in the case of someone who skips bail and doesn’t appear for their day in court. Other acceptable forms of collateral include: fully-owned vehicles, boats, jewelry, firearms, and other such valuables. In some instances, the owner can still maintain physical possession of larger items such as houses, vehicles, and boats while they’re being used as collateral. The bondsman simply holds on to the title, in such instances.
  • Financing – If you don’t have the bond premium, sometimes the bonding agent can finance that amount for you, offering you the option of a convenient payment plan. Of course, you can expect to pay interest for the amount you’re borrowing, but you’ll also be able to bond out in a reasonable amount of time without wasting time trying to come up with the bond premium upfront.

Trust a Licensed Agent

Of course, every situation is unique and requires the professional attention of a licensed and insured bonding agent who can help you navigate the process from the first call to the release from jail. Whether you’re needing to find out where your loved one is being detained and how much the bond is or you’re needing to arrange for the financing to get them out of jail, you should always contact a local bail bondsman for the expert advice and consultation you need at such a crucial time.