If youve been charged with a serious crime, choosing the right bail bondsman should be treated with the same importance as selecting your lawyer. But how do you know which one of the many out there is right for you ?
A judge sets your bail amount depending on how severe your crime is and the probability of you showing up in court when necessary.
Except when the judge thinks you are likely to flee, you can either make a one-time payment of your bond or approach a bail bond provider and see how they can help.
The usual scenario is the bond company will pay a particular percentage of your bail while promising the court, through a written contract, that they will pay off the balance should you fail to show yourself on preset court dates. You will be asked to check in with them every now then as well, as a form of reassurance that you plan to face your charges fair and square to the end. In the end, the bail amount will be returned and the bond company will keep 20% of the full amount, which they have already collected.
Professional Knowledge and Experience
Being a bail bondsman may sound easy, but only the knowledgeable and experienced can actually make a difference in terms of saving you time and getting you out of jail quick. They will be familiar with all the facilitys rules and regulations, allowing them to work as efficiently as they can. On top of that, they will be well-connected with people, offices or services that have a role to play in your release.
BBB Backing and Licensing
The first time you meet a prospective bondsman, immediately ask them to show you a written explanation of their terms. If they cant give you any, that means theyre probably inexperienced or even totally new to the industry. Two other indications of a good bail bond provider are, one, having the support of the Better Business Bureau (BBB); and two, being government-licensed and insured.
You should also choose a bondsman that is upfront when dealing with you: they should clearly state the percentage that goes to them, for example, or whether they require collateral (probably in the form of a car or land title). Most probably, 10% to 20% of the bail amount will end up in their bank account. The good news is many of these companies will be happy to work with you to make your payments more manageable.
Lastly, youll want a bail bondsman that will be there for you whenever you need them. Two of the most crucial times when they have to be available is when your family posts the bond, and when you are actually released. They also have to be there when you or your family has questions or concerns that need to be addressed.