Bail bondsmen aren’t well-known professionals; in fact, very few people are aware of what they actually do. They reside within a nebulous area in the justice system. If you’ve been arrested, they can negotiate your release on the condition that they will keep an eye on you and ensure that you show up to your court dates. If they fail they don’t get paid, and they will go as far as to hire a bounty hunter if you try to run for it. If you cooperate with them, they can be your best friends. They can give you time with your family that you wouldn’t have had otherwise, and they can keep your from missing work. This comes with a price, however, and there are a few things you should know before you call upon a bail bondsmen to get you or a loved one out of jail.
Most Bail Bondsmen Require a License to Operate Legally
Not all states mandate a license but most do. Furthermore, they require a bail bondsman to have a state license. The reason is that certain regulations differ depending on the state, and bail bondsmen need to be especially well versed in a particular section of the law. Even states that don’t require a license usually offer programs that enable bondsmen to attain one, so if you can pick your bondsman, it’s usually best to go with one that has a license versus one that doesn’t.
Hiring a Bail Bondsman Can Save You Money
The services of a bail bondsman are usually costly. The main benefit for most people is that bail bondsmen offer financing options so they don’t have to part with a big wad of cash up front. There are other scenarios, however, where hiring a bail bondsman is the more frugal option. If a judge opts for cash-only bail and the fees total more than a bail bondsman’s asking price, it’s usually wiser to call a bail bondsman.
Not All Agencies Are Local
Lots of national agencies are hungry for business, and they’ll advertise themselves as local businesses when they’re not. That’s the last thing you need if you’re in hot water. Local bondsmen know the laws of your state and jurisdiction. They’re the ones with enough expertise to help you. Accept no substitutions.
Bail Bondsmen Offer a Quick Way Out
Many agencies are open 24 hours a day, so if you’re arrested at 3AM, a bail bondsman can get you back onto the street by the next afternoon. Most agencies operate like extremely well-oiled machines, and a good agency prides itself on producing near immediate results. Try to keep in mind that bondsmen can be somewhat picky in who they will accept as clients; they’re in a high-risk business, and there are no guarantees. If there’s one that will take your case, however, you can expect a lightning fast turnaround.
A Good Bail Bondsman Knows How to Explain Payment Terms
Forming an agreement with a bail bondsman can be rather complicated. First, you’ll need to offer some form of collateral so he’s guaranteed to get something if you can’t keep up with the payments. Second, not all agencies will accept the same forms of payment, so if you want to use a credit card, you may be out of luck. The contract itself can be very complicated, so you’ll want to hire someone that can make it as easy to understand as possible.
A bondsman can make a complicated situation much easier to manage. The biggest benefits are intangible, but they make all the difference. Freedom is precious, and time is irrecoverable. If a bail bondsman can help keep your time from slipping away, don’t hesitate to call for one.
Kevin Walen is a guest blogger for www.bailbondsman.org where you’ll find many of the answers to questions you have about bail bonds.