Should I Pay For Bail Myself Or Use A Bondsman?

If you ever find yourself in prison, the first thing on your mind will be, how do I get out of here? Fortunately, you don't need to wait until your release date to leave prison, and in many cases, may not even need to spend one night behind bars. Posting bail — a term that describes money given by the defendant and held by the court as a promise of your appearance — can allow you to walk as a relatively free man while you await trial. 

But bail can be expensive; in many cases, prohibitively so. Still, a licensed bail bonds company can be a lifesaver by fronting the cash you need to get out of jail as soon as possible.

Do I Need to Use a Bondsman?

Simply put, no, you do not need a bondsman to get out of jail. All you need is the cash that the court has posted for your bail. Most courts have a schedule for misdemeanors and petty crimes; if so, they'll tell you as soon as you're booked what your bail will be. Under special circumstances, the judge will post a bail specific to your crimes, so you'll need to come up with that amount in order to be released. Once you arrive back for your hearings, that money will be returned to you.

Some amounts may be able to be covered by family or friends, or your own personal assets. If the amount is high, such as $20,000 or greater, you may need extra assistance, which is where a bail bonds company comes in.

How Do Bail Bonds Work?

Typically, a bail bondsman will charge you 10% of the bail amount as a fee for loaning the money. In the aforementioned amount of $20,000, the bail bondsman would charge $2,000 to you, and deliver $20,000 to the court to get you out of prison. It's up to you to return back for the hearings, though. If you fail to show, the bondsman will lose that money.

When you look for a bail bonds company, it's important to only find those who are licensed. Ask for accreditation when you post bail.

Bail bondsman make the process of getting out of jail extremely affordable, but the choice of whether or not to use them ultimately comes down to two things: the amount posted, and your ability to pay it. If you have the means to pay for your own bail, then you won't have to pay the fee to a bail bondsman. If not, contact a licensed bail bonds company to help you out.