Once a bond hearing has completed and the judge sets bail comes the time to decide whether the defendant’s loved one wants to go with a cash bond or surety. If coming up with such a large sum is not possible, as it is with most people then most likely it will require using the services of a bail bondsman to go with a surety bond. This may seem overwhelming if someone has never dealt with this situation before so to help, here are some basics to know when hiring a bail bondsman.
Rates should be consistent throughout the state
The first thing to know about bail bondsman rates is that the state actually sets a percentage so that bail bond agencies do not have a huge variation in what they can charge. Typically the percentage is about 10% so you can feel good about the fact that you aren’t going to necessarily get a better deal anywhere else but it also allows you to know that if a bail bondsman says they can do it for 5% or 7 that it is a huge red flag that they are not legitimate.
Your bail bondsman should be licensed
In order to legally run a bail bonds agency, a business must be licensed in the state that they conduct business in. This ensures that the bail bondsman has the knowledge and understanding of how the court system works and are able to efficiently help their clients get released. If you ever suspect a bail bondsman of not being on the up-and-up, it is recommended that you ask the bail bondsman to see their license.
Have important information ready
When you contact a bail bondsman, you will be asked a series of questions so it can be helpful to have that information on hand to quickly go through the application process. Some things to know are where the defendant is being held, what is their inmate number, and what is the bond set at. Some other important information to have is basic contact information such and as name, address, and phone number as well as information in regards to the charges and past criminal history.
Never go with a bail bondsman who solicits at the jail
If you are visiting the defendant in jail and anyone comes up to you offering to help get them released for cheap, run the other way. No legitimate bail bondsman would ever solicit to you or offer any types of discounts, so take heed to avoid being a victim of fraud.
A bond hearing has to be completed before release is possible
The final thing to note is that a defendant will have to first go through the booking process as well as a bond hearing before they are eligible for bond. This means it can be up to a couple of days before you can actually work with the bail bondsman to negotiate release because some crimes may not even be eligible for bond. It may seem long and frustrating but once bond is set and papers filed, most will be released within a couple of hours.