What You Need To Know Before Bailing Someone Out Of Jail

If you're thinking about posting bail for a friend or loved one who's in jail, you need to understand how a bail bond works. Many people assume that they need to have the amount of bail money ordered by the judge in court in order to have their loved one released from jail. However, that isn't the case. Before you give up hope or empty your savings account, learn more about how bail bonds work to determine whether or not you want to co-sign for one.

How Does a Bail Bond Work?

When you get a bail bond to have a loved one released from jail, you'll pay 10 percent of the ordered bail upfront. For example, if your loved one is being held in jail pending a $10,000 bond, you'll need to pay $1,000 to have the person released. Once you pay your 10 percent fee to the bail bondsman, the bail bondsman pays puts up the other 90 percent of the bail money to have your loved one released from jail. As a condition of this transaction, if your loved one doesn't appear in court on the scheduled date, the bail money is forfeited. Because the bail bondsman's money won't be returned if your loved one doesn't show up for court, you might be required to secure the remaining 90 percent of the bail money with your house or another asset. This way, the bail bondsman won't lose any money. If your loved one doesn't show up, you could lose whatever asset you used to secure the loan for the bail money.

Are You Eligible to Cosign a Bail Bond?

Bail bondsmen don't allow anyone to cosign for a bail bond. To a bail bondsman, posting bail is nothing more than a business transaction. If the bail bondsman allows someone untrustworthy to cosign for a loved one's bail, there's a chance that the company will take a loss. The company needs to be able to recoup the money that is put up for the bail in order to survive. The eligibility requirements for bail bond cosigners vary by state, but in many cases, you need to have a decent credit history, be a US citizen, and have lived in the same area for a significant amount of time. Because eligibility varies, you shouldn't assume that you don't meet the qualifications before discussing your options with a professional bail bondsman in your area.

Deciding whether or not you should cosign a bail bond to have a loved one released from jail is a huge decision. Yes, posting bail does release your loved one from jail until it's time to appear in court. However, there are also some serious risks involved if your loved one decides to skip court. The bottom line is, if you trust your loved one enough to know that he or she will make the scheduled court appearance, talk to a bail bondsman to see if you qualify to cosign a bail bond. Contact a business, such as All Star Bail Bonds for more information.