What if somebody you knew well went to prison and asked for help with posting bail, but you can’t afford it?
Posting bail for a loved one can seem like an emotionally and financially taxing task. There are, however, ways you can achieve bail bond financing.
This article will guide you through your options when it comes to paying for bail. Keep reading to learn more about bail bond financing and how to get bail money back.
How Is Bail Cost Determined?
When a person is in the custody of the police, they will attend a bail hearing before a judge. In this hearing, the judge will determine the cost of posting bail, depending on the crime committed.
If the crime committed is a minor misdemeanor, the bail cost is on the low side, around $500. On the other hand, felonies charge for more and can reach around $20,000.
Often, the cost of posting bail is too high for the average household income, or can seriously damage a person’s finances. Paying it off can seem impossible. This is why bail bond agents and bail bond payment plans are often necessary.
What Is Bail Bond Financing?
When a defendant goes to prison, the court will usually allow them to post bail for a certain amount of money, which will allow the person to be temporarily released while waiting for their trial. A bail bond is an agreement that states the defendant will pay off the entire bail over time.
In this case, a bail bond agent will post bail and pledge that the money is forfeit if the defendant doesn’t show up for court. The bail bond agent is responsible for keeping up with the defendant and making sure that they appear in court.
What Is Included in a Bail Bond Payment Plan?
If you can’t afford to pay the entirety of a bond, you can choose to enter what is called a bail bond payment plan. A bail bond company can arrange this for you according to your needs.
These are some aspects that you will find in a bail bond payment plan.
Even if you don’t have to pay off your bail in full, you will still need a down payment that acts as the first installment. Most of the time, you will be required to pay 15% of the original bond. If you can’t afford this, you can negotiate further with the bond company.
In most cases, the larger your down payment, the higher the chances of you securing a payment plan.
This allows you to pay the bail off in regular installments instead of all at once. Typically, you will repay the bond every month or so for an agreed-upon amount.
As with any normal bonds, a bail bond payment plan does include interest rates. You can negotiate the exact rate with the company, or try to find a payment plan with as low-interest rates as possible. The good news is, in North Carolina, bail agents are not allowed to charge interest.
At the same time, make sure you repay them diligently, because otherwise your interest rates (in states that allow it) may pile up and harm you financially.
Eligibility for a Bail Bond Payment Plan
These are some factors to bail companies that may influence your eligibility for a bail bond payment plan:
- Credit score
- Employment history
- The perceived ability to repay the bond
- Arrest history
- Co-signer credit score (if you are requesting the bail bond with another person)
Some companies require an additional set of eligibility criteria, which typically include:
- The person is 21 years or older
- The person has been employed at the same place for at least a year
- They have an open checking account
- They have a salary that provides them with at least $2000 a month
This leads us to another important question, namely…
What Happens if You Can’t Repay Your Bail Bond?
When it comes to bail bond payment plans, the process of repayment is highly important.
The stakes are high. Failing to meet repayment deadlines may result in the bail being revoked and your loved one being sent to prison before the trial date. This may happen especially if the bond agent believes that there may be a possibility that the defendant will attempt to evade going to court for their trial.
If you are truly struggling with repayment, however, you can let them know as early into the process as possible. Negotiate a longer repayment term with a reduced monthly installment, or try to negotiate for a lower interest rate.
The easiest way to prevent further difficulties is to communicate with your bond company and see what options they have to accommodate your financial situation.
Understanding Bail Bond Financing
If you have a loved one sent to prison, you want to get them out by any means necessary. In most cases, that means going through a bail bond financing process.
Having bond companies and bond agents to assist you will allow you to keep your finances more or less intact. It will also allow you to achieve relative peace of mind. Getting support from professionals can also enable you to consider options that you otherwise wouldn’t have thought of because you are in a state of distress.
Overall, bond payment plans will differ based on the company you sign up with. Generally, they will allow you to repay the bond amount over time, instead of all at once. There may be interest rates included in the payment plan if permitted by law, which can be determined by factors such as your credit score, your arrest history, your employment history, and your ability to repay the bail.
Would you like to learn more about the bail bond process? Contact us today to discover your bail bond options.