If a loved one has been arrested, your first instinct may be to dig into your own bank account or ask friends and family members for money to help post bail. It’s true that you or a defendant can post bail for themselves if certain conditions are met. But bail can range from hundreds of dollars to thousands. That’s a lot of money to pull together all at once. And even if you have the finances to pay the cost of bail, using your own money may not be the best option depending on your circumstances and the circumstances of the person who’s been arrested. If you’re weighing your options and wondering whether you should use your own money to pay bail or to use a bail bond, there are some questions you should ask yourself.
- How much will I have to pay out-of-pocket?
- Can I support myself in a financial emergency?
- Will my loved one show up to their court hearing?
Can I support myself in a financial emergency?
People who can afford to pay the bail costs often still choose to go with a bail bond company instead of paying out-of-pocket. If you pay the bail yourself, that money will be held by the courts until a verdict is reached. The process can take several months, which means you may not get the money back for a long time. If you have a financial emergency, you won’t be able to use that money to support yourself if you’ve spent it on bail. And if the defendant misses their court hearings, the bail could forfeit to the courts, and you won’t get any of it back.
Since the bail bond company puts the money up for bail, you’ll be able to hold onto your money for any unplanned expenses that may come up in your life.
How much will I have to pay out-of-pocket?
Depending on the severity of the offense, the court could set bail for several hundred or several thousand dollars. That’s a lot of money out of your bank account. If you post bail with your own money, court fees and fines could be taken directly from it. So the money you get back from the bail refund may be less than what you posted.
A bail bond company has the resources to cover the entire cost of bail, so you don’t have to use your own money. There’s a nonrefundable fee of 10% of the bail bond. That 10% is considered a service charge, so you won’t get it back if your loved one is convicted or acquitted.
Will my loved one show up to their court hearing?
Posting bail or going through a bail bond agent doesn’t excuse someone from showing up in court. It’s in your best interest to make sure your loved one will show up for their court hearings regardless of whether you post bail yourself or go through a bail bond agent.
Since bail bond agents are using their own money to post bail, they have an interest in making sure the defendant appears in court, stays out of trouble, and avoids getting re-arrested. A good bail bond company has the resources and connections to help people stay on the right track.
A few more things to consider: If you pay the bail cost with your own money, it could affect your ability to get a public defender. A court may decide that if you can pay the bail yourself, you can afford your own attorney. And if you post bail yourself, the amount is public record. That financial information can be viewed by creditors or anyone else in the general public.
If a loved one has been arrested and bail has been set, it’s important to know what your options are. Your best bet is to talk to an expert. River City Bail Bonds can explain the bail bond process, answer your specific questions, and help you secure a bond any time of day or night.