If youve been charged with a serious crime, choosing the right bail bondsman should be treated with the same importance as selecting your lawyer. But how do you know which one of the many out there is right for you ?
How It Works
A judge sets your bail amount depending on how severe your crime is and the probability of you showing up in court when necessary.
Unless the judge views you as a flight risk, you will have two choices: pay off the entire bond or ask a bail bondsman for assistance.
Generally speaking, the bail bond provider will pay a certain portion of your bail and sign a contract with the court, promising to take responsibility for the remaining amount should you not appear on your court dates. You will be asked to check in with them every now then as well, as a form of reassurance that you plan to face your charges fair and square to the end. At the end of the process, the court will return the bail amount and the bond provider gets to keep 20% of it, which has been collected beforehand.
Pro Knowledge and Experience
Being a bail bondsman may sound easy, but only the knowledgeable and experienced can actually make a difference in terms of saving you time and getting you out of jail quick. They will know all the policies of the facility and use that to their advantage while working on your case. Moreover, they will have solid connections with offices or services that could help speed up your release.
BBB Approval and Appropriate Licensing
On your first meeting with a potential bondsman, check if they have documentation that details their terms in a language you will understand (no jargon!). If they cant give you any, that means theyre probably inexperienced or even totally new to the industry. A bail bondsman worth considering is also one that is approved by the Better Business Bureau (BBB), and has a license and insurance.
Its important to work with a bondsman who will be straightforward with you in every aspect of your transaction – for example, how much they will keep of the bail money and whether you should provide collateral, such as a land or vehicle title. They will usually run 10% to 20% of the total bond amount. Whats great is that these companies are usually kind enough to work something out so that payment will not be such a burden to you.
Lastly, youll want a bail bondsman that will be there for you whenever you need them. The two most crucial moments when they totally have to be present are during bond-posting and as you are released from jail. Besides those, they should take time to answer questions or address concerns that you or your family might need help with.