How to Post Bail for a Family Member
If you have a family member who has been arrested and you’ve never dealt with the criminal justice system before, paying that bail can seem daunting. Luckily, bail bonds from providers like the All-American Bail Bond Agency make bail more accessible to families. Posting bail requires a few steps and might take a little time, but it’s not a difficult process once you know what you are doing.
Step 1: Understand the Options
Judges sometimes order bail specifically as cash or bond, but most often defendants and their families have a choice. In situations where bond is allowed, a bail bondsman is needed to complete the process. If you have the choice between cash or bond, the cash option might be more expensive than your family can currently afford. Luckily, bond options are typically less expensive up-front.
Step 2: Contact a Bondsman or Bond Agency
Even if you think you might put up a cash bond, it’s worthwhile to contact bond agents to feel out your options. You may change your mind once you hear their terms, or they might have information you have not yet considered. Choose from among the public and private options in your area. There are even large-scale agencies that operate in multiple states and offer savings based on their volume of contracts.
Step 3: Understand the Responsibilities of Bond
Bail bonds are typically a flat cost up, and unlike paying bail in cash, that cost is non-refundable. The upside to using a bond instead of paying bail directly is that the cost tends to be low compared to the cash value of the bail order. For state charges, the standard fee from bail bondsmen tends to be 10 percent. For federal charges, it is customarily 15 percent. Bond agents can obtain security against the assets of a defendant or the family member who posts the bond. Additionally, there are often payment plans available.
Step 4: Sign the Bond Contract
If you are sure you’re ready to take on the responsibilities that come with posting bail or a bond, then the next step is to commit to it. Once you have a bond agreement, the bail bondsman will take charge of paying the court, initiating the discharge process for the defendant. Most of the time, a bail bond agency will have a very close working relationship with the court, so this process goes smoothly.
After Posting Bail or Bond
Bail is a commitment on the defendant’s part to be present for all required court dates and to participate meaningfully in that defendant’s own defense. It is designed to decrease the social and material burden of a trial while securing the defendant against flight. As such, the consequences for missing court dates are severe and can include the full forfeiture of the bail with even a single missed appearance. If you are providing the bail or bond for a family member, it’s important you support them and help them make all their required appearances. For more information about getting a bail paid in your area, contact the All-American Bail Bond Agency at (586) 770-7411. Experienced bond agents are waiting to help you.