You’ve just received the call from a loved one informing you they’re in jail. If you’ve never been in this situation before, you probably have no idea what to do next.
The most important thing is to make sure they get out of jail as soon as possible. This means you’ll need to bail them out. But what if their bond amount is too much?
Your next step is to get in touch with a bondsman. They can pay the entire bond amount to get your loved one out of jail until their court date.
You’ll need to pay the bondsman a percentage (usually 15%) of the bond and sometimes provide assets as collateral.
Because you’re entering into a contract, it’s important to find the best bail bondsperson available. Let’s go over ways to find the perfect person for the job.
Get a Referral from the Lawyer
If your loved one already has a defense attorney, they probably know of a good bondsman you can go to for help. If they don’t already have an attorney, you may want to hire one right away.
Defense attorneys must work with bond companies all the time. This means they’ll know which bondsmen in the area perform quality service.
There’s a good chance they have relationships with certain bail bondsmen. Getting a referral may even result in a better deal and allow you to save some cash.
Remember, many people can’t afford bail and need financial assistance. A defense attorney will know which bail bond organizations are right for the case. They’ve likely worked with them in the past and can be sure of a successful outcome.
Consider a Bail Bond Agency
Hiring a private bondsman comes with potential risk. You may want to consider a larger agency in order to protect yourself.
Bail bond agencies make it a point to keep your information confidential. They also have the resources and staff needed to handle your case much more efficiently. You’ll end up saving time and avoiding headaches.
Larger agencies also have stronger connections to attorneys and court employees, allowing them to streamline the process. Hiring a private bondsperson could result in you jumping through hoops to complete the deal.
You should also watch out for private entities that advertise reduced fees or inexpensive service. There’s a good chance they’re trying to reel you in. Once hired, they don’t come through as promised.
Check Online Reviews
When searching for someone to work with, it’s a good idea to check online reviews to get a sense of their reliability. This is a useful approach because you get a firsthand account of people’s experience with a bondsperson.
You may also be able to find reviews made by people who were in the same situation as you. If you’re noticing frequent negative reviews about a certain person or agency, it’s probably a good idea to continue your search.
You can check websites like Yelp, Bing and also look at Google reviews. You should also check out at the bondsman’s website, as there’s a good chance they post testimonials.
Things you want to look for when trying to find a bail bondsman is the speed at which they work. You also want someone who’s responsive to your calls and inquiries.
Area of Operation
Making sure the bondsperson serves the area where the arrest took place is very important. It’s crucial they have experience with the local system and have a good understanding of the bonding process for the courts in that area.
With a good understanding of the local process, they’ll be able to give you an idea of how long things will take. This is helpful in such a stressful situation.
The bondsperson or agency you do business with also needs to have the appropriate licenses to operate in that specific county or state. A license is required almost everywhere across the US.
Knowing the person you’re working with is fully licensed protects you from any illegal practices. They need to be abiding by local laws and following local court procedures.
Understand Their Fees and Conditions
Once you’ve narrowed down your candidates and start looking to hire someone, make sure you understand their fees and conditions regarding posting bail. You want someone who’s upfront about all fees and transparent about the service they provide.
Make sure the charges on the contract include the premium amount for the bail bond (usually 10%). The contract should also lay out all other possible fees.
Some bondsmen will attempt to charge you an annual premium for the duration the bond is in effect. This is an easy way for them to make extra profit from you, so avoid them at all costs. They don’t have your best intentions in mind.
Some bondsmen set other conditions outside the actual bond. These may include substance abuse treatment or the necessity for the defendant to report to them regularly. Make sure you and your loved one understand the conditions before you agree to them.
Always Review the Bond Contract
Before you sign anything, make sure you understand the contract. Aside from fees and conditions, the bondsman needs to include all the details of your agreement in the contract. This includes payment amounts and any interest they charge.
If you’re putting up real estate as collateral, ask them how much time you have before they foreclose in the event you can’t pay back your bond. This will most likely be 90 days, but make sure it’s in the contract.
You should also receive an invoice for all payments you make on the bond. Keep track of these, as you’ll need them in the event of a dispute.
A reputable bondsperson will provide a detailed contract and won’t mind providing invoices for everything.
Find the Best Bail Bondsperson for Your Situation
When a loved one gets arrested, it can cause a huge amount of stress for you and your entire family. The financial burden can make things even worse.
Working with the very best bail bondsperson will ensure the process goes smoothly so you can put the event behind you.
We specialize in a wide range of bail bond services in the Raleigh, NC area. Contact us for help.