When someone is arrested, there is generally only one thing on their mind, well, maybe two. First of all, how in the heck did this happen? And, how do I get out of jail?
Once arrested, the arrestee will appear before a judge for a bail hearing. At that time, the judge will determine an appropriate bail amount as well as other conditions of bail. It is then up to the arrestee, now a defendant, to find a way to post bail. That person, be it you or someone you know, will most likely need a bail bondsman.
Important Considerations in Choosing a Bail Bondsman
You will need a bail agent who is in business within the jurisdiction and county of your arrest. You will need to understand the conditions of your agreement with the bondsman, as well as the conditions of bail with the court.
Since the bondsman is responsible for bailing you out of jail, he is responsible to the court for the full amount of your bail and also assuring you will follow the conditions of your bail. You will need to meet with your bondsman within a specific period upon your release, and maybe on a regular schedule. If you do not follow your bond agreement with the court or your bond agent, you could end up back in jail.
When hiring a bond agent, you need to know what, if any, possible reasons there could be for your being placed back in jail, even if you remain in compliance with the court-mandated bail agreements. Make sure this is all spelled out to you.
Other Questions to Ask Before Hiring Your Bail Agent
Some of the other things you need to know about a bail bondsman include:
- How long has he been in the business?
- Is the surety office within your state?
- Has his license ever been restricted or suspended? If so, why?
- Has he been sued by previous clients? If so, why?
- Will all of the financing terms be put in writing?
Make sure you understand the billing. In most states across the US, all bondsmen must charge 10% of the bail amount. They cannot charge over that or undercut it. If your bail is posted at $5,000, your bondsman should charge you $500. There are a few exceptions including if bail is set at a lower amount than $1,000.
His fee is his pay, you will not get that back. If necessary, find out if payments may be paid on the fee, or whether it is required upfront. Most bond agencies accept cash or credit cards for payment.
It is important to understand that not all bail agents are reputable, and it is the client who may suffer from hiring an irresponsible agent. Rest assured that all agents listed in the Bond Agents Network are licensed, professional, and reputable. We can refer a local bond agent to you, or you can feel confident calling an agent through our website.