If you or someone you know has been arrested, there's a good chance you will be trying to get them out as soon as possible. The only legal way that you can get out of prison before the dispensation of the charges is to pay a release fee also known as bail. The release fee is decided by a judge and can be steep, even for minor charges. This is where bail bond agents come into play.
Who are bail bond agents?
They are licensed professionals who deal with jails and courts to secure release for their clients. For this service, they generally charge about ten percent of the actual release cost and whatever other charges you may incur. Once you are released, this person is responsible for you if you don't show up for your court date. In the case that you decide to skip town or not show up, they will send bounty hunters to find you, collect you, and bring you back to jail.
How does the whole process work?
After the arrest, the inmate will be taken into booking, get fingerprinted, and take mug shots. Once this process has been completed, arrangements can be made to pay for their release. For example, the price of release is set at $4,000, you would pay the bail bond agents about $400 and whatever other fees they may charge for their services. After they have been paid, they will go down to the prison, pay the bond, and retrieve the person. A meeting between the payer, the prisoner, and the bondsmen will then generally take place, where they will let you know what they expect out of you. As long as you make your court dates, there will be no other fees assessed.
Why do I only have to pay ten percent?
That is the legal allowable minimum for these businesses to charge. You could pay the full amount and evade dealing with the bondsman, but generally, it is a large sum of money. In the case that the person doesn't show up for their court date, you are responsible for them and you lose your payment. If they do show up, you will get your money back in full. These businesses take a risk. They put up the full amount for all of their clients, and as long as their clients appear in court, they make ten percent on all of them. A client who fails to appear means they lose a lot of money, so they enlist bounty hunters to find you and ensure they get that money.
What if I can't afford ten percent?
Some bondsmen offer an option to finance your ten percent fee. Bail bond agents will have an office full of professionals, including a finance department. The finance team will work with you to determine a payment plan that is beneficial to both parties. If money is tight at the moment, you don't have to worry, you can still secure your loved one's release from jail.