If one of your loved ones gets arrested, you don’t want that person to spend time languishing in jail. Most of the time, the only way to get them out is to make a bail payment. Although movies always make it look like bail is a simple process that happens magically in a couple of hours, reality is rarely so quick and easy.
Posting bail can be a multi-step process that takes longer than a few hours. It can sometimes take days or even weeks depending on the severity of the crime. Here are some tips on speeding up the bail bond process and getting a loved one out of jail as quickly as possible.
1. Stay Calm
There are many reasons you might panic after a loved one gets arrested. If your loved one is a minor, you might worry about trauma affecting their emotional development. If your loved one reacts poorly to situations that make them feel frightened, angry, or powerless, you might worry about how they will behave in jail.
However you might be feeling, the best thing to do in these circumstances is keep your emotions under control. If you have a clear head, you’ll be able to make rational decisions, avoid mistakes, and move the process along more quickly. Do whatever it takes to stay calm, including relying on emotional support from your family and friends, taking deep breaths, and taking the following concrete steps towards resolving the situation.
2. Learn the Bail Amount
Some offenses have set bail schedules, but others must be set by a judge. If your offense has a set amount, you can skip to step three.
However, many offenses require your loved one to appear in person before the judge. During the appearance, the judge will consider the details of the arrest and the arrestee’s personal criminal history to decide on a fair bail. Once the judge has decided the bail amount and you have this information, you can take action.
3. Hire a Bail Bondsman
Many people who must pay bail do not have enough emergency funds in their budget to immediately pay bail. If you don’t have enough money in your savings to cover the cost of bail, don’t worry. Contact a bail bonds company. They’ll work with you on a payment plan that suites your financial needs and gets your loved one home again as soon as possible.
Once you’ve decided to hire a bondsman, you don’t need to fill out a lot of paperwork. Instead, just call the bail bond company and tell them who your loved one is — they’ll do the rest.
4. Set Up a Payment Schedule
If you hire a bail bondsman, they will take care of the full payment to the court upfront. However, you must make regular payments to the bondsman to complete your part of the payments.
Most bail bondsmen charge a nominal fee for their services, around 15% of the total payment made to the court. Nevada state law dictates that bail services cost 15% of the total bail payment, but other states have different policies. For example, bail services in California charge 10%. Call your bail company to find out what the service fee will be.
Talk to your bail bond company to set up a payment plan to reimburse the company for their service. Most companies take credit card, check, and cash payments, making it easy for their clients to use their services.
5. Follow Up With All Required Court Appearances
After your loved one is released from jail, they will likely need to reappear before a judge again to receive their actual sentence. If they fail to appear before the court, the bail you already paid to keep them out of jail is no longer in effect. If your loved one misses the court date for any reason, you must call your bail bondsman immediately to get the bail bond reinstated.
If your loved one does miss a court date, this will extend the process unnecessarily. The best way to keep the process moving is to comply with all rulings given by the court.
Bail Bonds Can Be Stress-Free
During this process, communication is key. You need to listen to all instructions given by the court and your bail bonds company and ensure that you follow those instructions to the letter. If you fail to fill out a form correctly or don’t cooperate with law enforcement, you’ll find that the process might drag on longer than it needs to.