When someone you care about is arrested, the first thing that probably crossed your mind is how to help them get out of jail. You’ve probably heard that posting bail is the easy and fast route to free them up. Although it is, many don’t realize the responsibilities when they’re co-signing a bail bond for a friend or family member.
It’s typical for anyone to do all they can to help a loved one, and posting bail for them might be small. However, such a decision is legally binding, which is why you should understand how it works.
To guide you through the process, we’ve highlighted the following important considerations when bailing someone out of jail.
How Does A Bail Work?
Understanding how bail works can help you make a more well-informed decision. It is not that you should hesitate to help a loved one get out of jail, but it’s to know exactly what you are getting yourself into. The bail process isn’t perfect and can be complicated at times. Thus, it wouldn’t hurt to prepare yourself for any problem that may arise.
Bail is a predetermined amount of money that serves as insurance between the court and the person in jail. By paying that certain amount and complying with conditions of release, the arrested person or defendant can be out of prison until all the proceedings and trials are done.
Note that it’s the judge who determines the amount and conditions of bail. But the bail is typically set high to ensure that the defendant shows up for every court hearing. Failure to appear in court will revoke the bail, and the defendant will be re-arrested and returned to jail.
Different Types of Bail
When the bail amount is already set, you have several options to pay it and get your loved one out of jail. It may depend on the crime the defendant has been charged with. But in most cases, bail can be posted in one of the following ways.
If you have enough cash available, you can immediately pay the full bail amount. You can get the money back, minus some fees, and other charges, if the defendant shows up for their court date. If not, you may lose the entire bail amount.
The court accepts collateral to post bail. If you don’t have the disposable income or cash available to pay the full bail amount, you can use personal assets, such as your house, car, or jewelry. But then again, you may lose the property if the defendant fails to appear in court.
If you don’t have the means to pay for the required amount, you can hire a bail bond agent from Remedy Bail Bonds San Diego or San Francisco, among others, to post the bail for you. They will pledge to the court to pay the full bond amount if the defendant fails to show up in court. That is after you pay them a bail premium, which is usually 10% of the bail amount and is non-refundable.
Responsibilities When Bailing Someone Out
As you’ve probably already figured out, bailing someone out of jail comes with great responsibility. Many people think that their part is done after they bailed a loved one out of jail. Unfortunately, the responsibility doesn’t end there, and it might go beyond simply providing the money.
Here are a few responsibilities you should be prepared for when bailing someone out of jail:
Ensure They Show Up in Court
When you help someone get out of jail on bail, it is your responsibility to ensure that the defendant appears at their court dates. Most think that they are responsible for the first court date only, which is not right.
You are responsible for getting your friend or family member to every single court date without fail. Besides that, you’re also the first person the court will blame if the defendant does not show up on time in their court dates.
Although you’re not criminally liable if the defendant failed to show up, you can be civilly liable, which means you’re responsible for paying for additional fees or even the full bail amount. That is if you signed a bail bond agreement and became an indemnitor.
Pay For Additional Fees
If the defendant refuses to go to court, the bail bond company will have to locate and bring the defendant into custody. At times, they need a recovery agent to bring the defendant back, resulting in additional fees. As the indemnitor, it’s your responsibility to pay all these additional costs until the court matter is resolved.
Pay Full Bail Cost
You’re also held solely responsible for paying the entire bail amount set by the court if the defendant disappeared and cannot be located. The bail agency will have no more obligations to the defendant. If you put collateral when you signed the bond agreement, the property will not also be returned.
Why Should You Post A Bail For Someone?
The responsibilities you have to deal with when posting bail for someone you care about are not easy. It can be physically, emotionally, mentally, and financially stressful. Whatever type of bail you choose, it’ll be both costly and risky. And although caring for them is enough reason to bail them out of jail, here are other reasons why it’s essential to do so.
If you’re having doubts about posting bail for a friend or relative due to the accompanying responsibilities, you can go over the following why it will be worth the cost and risk.
Get Appropriate Legal Help
When you post bail for someone, they can get appropriate legal assistance. Although they can have access to a lawyer while in jail, it might be hard to do frequent meetings and communication, which is necessary to achieve the best possible outcome.
Continue Their Daily Life
Court dates can take a month or more, and it can cost someone to lose their job. If the defendant is a student, missing a few days of school can be detrimental to their learning. But if you post bail for them, they can continue with their daily lives, such as working, caring for the family, and going to school.
Make Life Arrangements
Bailing someone out of jail gives them some time to take care of some essential matters in life. They can make arrangements with their work and school if they need to return to jail after their court case. When they are bailed out, they can have the time to prepare their home and family.
Posting bail for a friend or loved one is a decision that should not be taken lightly. No matter how much you care for them, it’s essential to consider all possible options and outcomes. Apart from providing the money, be sure that you’re ready to take full responsibility when you bail someone out of jail.