Few things compare with the stress and bewilderment of a late night phone call from a friend or family member that’s in jail and has called youfor help. Besides the whirlwind of emotion and confusion, you have just been thrust into the position of having to be their advocate, point-of-contact, and for all intents and purposes, their last hope. That’s a lot to bear, especially if you’ve never done this before.
First things first… Stay calm. They’re probably scared enough as it is, so your anxiety surely isn’t going to help. Keep your cool and find out where they’re being held, their booking number, and bail amount before you hang up the phone. Once you’ve hung up, your next call should be to a bail bondsman, and here’s why:
Pay a Portion of the Bail Amount
After hanging up the phone, your first thought might be to get them out as quickly as possible, by any means necessary, and that you’ll need to dip into your bank account in order to do it. However, when you consider that average bail amounts for many offenses in Georgia range between thousands of dollars up to tens of thousands of dollars, using your own money becomes an unreasonable and impossible option for a speedy release from jail. A bail bond company allows you to pay a portion of the amount as a fee, rather than forking over the entire amount. In exchange, you’ve assumed the responsibility of ensuring that the defendant arrives in court on the scheduled day. Most reputable bail bondsmen allow for financing or easy payment plans that allow you to avoid paying the entire amount in order to get the defendant out of jail.
Help with the Process
A trusted, experienced bail bondsman has been down this road hundreds of times before. Not only are they familiar with the entire process within that specific jurisdiction and can help explain it all to you along the way, but they might even know the judge and other principals involved in the case, offering you additional insight and guidance. In addition, they might even be able to offer legal referrals to further assist the defendant in the next stages of the process. Their overall knowledge of the process helps to give you the confidence and peace of mind you need in order to help your loved one get out of jail as quickly as possible.
A simple internet search is a great place to start to find a bail bondsman in your area. Make sure to ask about their credentials and their authority to work in your state as a licensedinsurance agent. Furthermore, ask for testimonials or any online reviews they might have regarding their professional reputation. Before signing anything, ask about all their fees upfront. In addition to the bonding fee – which is usually 10% of the bond amount set by the judge – they should provide an itemized list of fees that you should expect to be charged.
While the experience of being arrested is a terrible one, your action in hiring a competent, licensed bonding agent to work on behalf of your arrested loved one is one of the smartest things you can do to shorten your loved one’s stay in jail.