Bail bonds can be tricky to navigate financially. Prepare yourself and check out these tips on getting the best bail bond rates.
Bail in the United States doesn’t come cheap.
Indeed, on average, someone who has committed a felony must pay over $55,000 in bail to be released from jail. As you’d expect, the more serious the felony, the higher the sum.
Clearly, that’s an exceptional amount of money. For most Americans, it’s simply unattainable. But what’s the alternative? You or your loved one must remain in prison until it’s time to go to court.
This is where bail bondsmen come in.
Anyone who can’t get the cash together to afford bail can seek their support and shave thousands of dollars from the bail price required. Want to learn more about the process and how to save as much money as possible?
Keep reading to discover everything you need to know about bail, bail bonds, and how to get the best bail bond rate possible.
What is Bail?
First, let’s turn to the question of what the term ‘bail’ actually means.
As you probably already know, bail is a sum of money you pay to the court to secure release from prison until the case is completed.
A crime is committed, and you go to jail. But it’s good for no-one: it costs the state money to keep you there and no-one enjoys spending time in prison. Consequently, a bail amount can be paid to the court as a guarantee.
It’s a promise to them that you’ll continue to attend court hearings if they release you. Attend every hearing and you get the money back when the case is over (regardless of the outcome).
Fail to attend, and you lose it all to the state.
What is a Bail Bond?
Now let’s consider what we mean by ‘bail bond’.
Unfortunately, as we’ve seen, that bail price can be extortionately high. Bail bonds are a solution to the problem of unaffordable bail.
Essentially, a ‘bail bondsman’ is paid a percentage (usually 10%) of the bail amount to provide a bail bond. This bond secures your release. How? It’s a form of surety bond. These are legal contracts between different parties that guarantee someone will fulfill their obligations.
The bondsman secures your release by guaranteeing, contractually, that the bail money will be paid to the court if you fail to show up to hearings. Their premium for securing your release is the percentage of the bail.
Now, isn’t that a risk for the bondsman? What happens if the defendant does a runner? How will the bondsman pay the money to the court?
The answer to these questions lies in what’s known as collateral. Essentially, the remaining sum of money is secured in collateral by the bondsman. Any financial assets of the defendant (or their family) will be used to pay the balance if they renege on the bond.
Rob Bing can’t afford his $15,000 bail for a recent burglary offense.
As a result, he contacts a bondsman.
The bondsman requires $1,500 to post a bail bond. Once in place, Rob can return to his home. The remaining $13,500 of the bail amount is secured in collateral. Rob’s house, designer watches and car help make up the sum.
Let’s imagine Rob behaves himself. If he attends each court date as required (and promised), the case concludes, the bond gets dissolved and his collateral is given back. The bondsman keeps the agreed upon $1,500 as payment.
However, if Rob fails to live up to his side of the bargain, then he sacrifices his financial assets. The bondsman pays the court the remaining $13,500 from the collateral.
How to Get the Best Bail Bond Rates
Hopefully, that’s provided some clarity on what a bail bond actually is.
With that information in mind, let’s turn to how to find the best rates possible from the bondsman. The average rate is usually 10% of the bail. However, there are ways to do better.
1. Get Bail Waived or Reduced
A sure-fire way to reduce the bond fee is by reducing the bail amount itself!
Even better, it’s sometimes possible to get the bail amount waived entirely.
The first step to achieving either is by filing a motion stating a defendant’s inability to pay bail. Next, a hearing will take place to present evidence of their inability to pay. It’s for the judge to decide on whether the motion is granted or not.
Be careful with this approach. These hearings can be detrimental to your needs. It isn’t uncommon for additional charges to be made on account of new evidence you’ve brought forwards; bail amounts can be increased.
2. Use a Reputable Bondsman
Using a reputable bondsman is another important step to getting the best bail bond rate.
You don’t want to be taken for a ride. Remember, this is unlikely to be your area of expertise. Be sure to do your research before choosing someone. Visit their websites, such as Dan Mense Bail Bonds, and look at the reviews of their service to determine their aptitude and trustworthiness.
3. Work With an Attorney
Working with an attorney is useful in many ways.
One advantage will be their ability to recommend the best bail bondsmen in your jurisdiction. It’s always good news if your attorney can vouch for a bondsman. They’ll know who charges fair amounts and does a good job.
Moreover, this can often lead to reductions in fees. The bondsman may charge less than the typical 10%.
4. Seek Detention Office Advice
Detention officers are another useful source of advice.
Their day job puts them in regular contact with bondsmen. As a result, they’ll have a solid idea of who will be best suited for your needs. Having detention officers onside is never a bad thing anyway. For example, they can play a role in reducing the bail amount itself.
5. Seek Additional Discounts
Some bond providers offer discounts based on certain criteria.
For instance, some providers offer 20% off the bail bond price. However, it’s often reserved for individuals who have served/who serve in the military, or have a private attorney, or belong to a union. Look around to see what discounts might be available to you.
Time to Wrap Up
There you have it: everything to know about bail bonds and how to get the best rates!
Unfortunately, bail isn’t cheap in the United States. For many, the sums required to post bail are simply too high to be realistic. Bail bonds help relieve the financial burden, in the form of a contractual guarantee.
Hopefully, this article has provided all the information you need to find the best bail bond rates possible for your needs.
Like this article? Be sure to check out our other legal posts on the blog. Just type ‘legal’ to get started.