Figuring Out Bail Finances: How A Bail Bond Service Can Help

Have you or a loved one been charged with a crime and need to make bail? Making bail is vital not only to stay out of jail, but to make sure that you don't lose your job, miss schooling, or miss out on family responsibilities. However, making bail can be hard. Many defendants—some that are even innocent—choose a plea deal if they can't meet the cash requirements for bail. Pleading guilty means they won't have to stay in jail.

This situation certainly isn't fair for those who aren't as affluent, so thankfully many reforms are being made. If you are trying to figure out bail finances yourself, a bail bond service can help.

What Does a Bail Bond Service do?

A bail bond service will help you make bail in exchange for collateral and a 10% to 15% fee of the original bail cost. However, for this exchange to hold up, the defendant must stay in the area and be present at the court on his or her trial date. If the accused doesn't show up, then the collateral is forfeit to the bail bond service. If you follow the bail bond service's directions, you will be able to keep your collateral, although the service will keep the 10% fee.

What Can You Use to Finance the Collateral?

Every service is different, but you can often use the following as collateral:

  • Real estate
  • A vehicle
  • Expensive jewelry
  • Stocks and bonds
  • Cash

If you don't have collateral, you may want to consider a loan from a family member or friend. Some people use high-interest payday loans, but this is risky; you should only consider this route if you are sure you can make the payments.

What Can You Do if You Don't Have Collateral?

If you cannot put up collateral yourself, a friend or family member may put up collateral for you. While many bail services require some collateral, there are some services that are willing to forgo that step. For instance, if you pay your bills on time, have very good credit, and are a homeowner, the bail bond service may not require collateral. No-collateral bail bonds are also known as signature bonds.

If you do not meet these prerequisites, then a friend or family member could help out and qualify for a signature bond. However, friends and family members may be wary for such a commitment. The indemnitor, or the person who takes out the bail bond, must sign an agreement obligating themselves to pay the entire bail bond should you miss your court date or flee the area.

What if You Have Some Collateral, but the Bail Is Still Too High?

If you are in dire straits, you may want to look into charitable bail funds. These funds are initiated by some communities, but not every state has them. You can contact a bail bond professional to see if these funds are available. If these funds aren't available, then you may want to petition the judge to lower the bail amount. For a crime that isn't that serious, the judge may take your financial situation into consideration.

You can also talk with your bail bond service if you cannot afford payment. Some services offer bail emergency loans. Again, you usually have to be a low-risk individual (e.g., have good credit) to qualify for these loans.

Although this may be a difficult time for you and your loved one, you do have options available to make bail. A bail bond service can help you figure out the required collateral and whether you qualify for a loan. Contact a bail bond service today for more information.