It’s an undeniable fact of life… Jail isn’t any fun. Just ask Tiger Woods. In light of his recent DUI arrest in Florida, it’s also safe to say that he probably had the money to bail himself out and proceeded to do so as quickly as possible.

Unfortunately, for most, that’s not the case.

Because most people don’t have all the funds available to post full bail, most must resort to using a bonding company (or bail bondsman, as they’re more commonly known) to secure a loan. Even though the bonding company puts that money up to serve as a surety bond to ensure that the arrested party will appear for their future court date, the accused – or someone acting on their behalf – must still pay a set fee (usually 10%) in order to be released. Once that’s been paid, the subject is free to leave the jail, contingent upon their promise to appear for their future court date.

What If You Don’t Have Bail Money?

In some instances, if the defendant – or the person acting on their behalf – doesn’t have the money to secure the loan, they must offer what’s known as bail collateral. The collateral is used in place of, or in addition to, money to cover the bonding company’s cost of getting the defendant back to jail if they don’t appear for their court date. Because each case is unique in risk, it’s up to the individual bonding company to determine just how much collateral, if any, would be necessary.

Acceptable 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: wholly-owned vehicles, boats, jewelry, firearms, and other such valuables. It’s worth noting that 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.

Getting Your Collateral Back

Collateral is returned to its rightful owner once the case is completed. The case is considered complete once bail is exonerated, the defendant is found not guilty, charges are dropped or a sentence comes down from a judge in the case.

For professional advice and consultation regarding collateral or any other facet of the bail bonds process, contact a licensed and insured bail bondsman. A trusted bail bondsman can help you with all the things related to the arrest and getting you or your loved one out of jail as quickly and as efficiently as possible.