The decision to bail a friend out of jail, especially if they are a loved one, might feel like an easy one. After all, you wouldn’t think twice to help out a close friend in need; right? Well, if you are one of these empathetic people, be very careful. That is because the decision to bail a person out of jail is not as easy as you think. It is a very serious decision, and one that comes with a certain degree risk and liability, and can even have potential consequences for you.
Continue reading to learn how bail works, what risks you are taking on when bailing someone out of jail, and whether or not you get your money refunded for a bail bond.
The Basics of Bail and Bail Bonds
Bail bonds are formal documents that allow a release from jail for a person being detained on suspected charges or crimes. Bail is the amount of money or surety set by the courts. These amounts differ for everyone, depending on the severity of crime, criminal history, flight risk, and more. Once bail is set, a bail bond can be obtained so that a person can be temporarily released from jail to await their following court hearing at home.
By now, your friend has contacted you to let you know they’ve been arrested. If you decide to bail them out of jail, you will contact a bail bond company at this point in the process. A bail bondsman, or bail agent, is the individual who operates a service that provides bail bonds for people who need to turn themselves into authorities, or need a release from jail. They operate by lending, or covering, the bail amount for those who cannot afford the entire fee upfront, in exchange for a non-refundable fee. So, whatever money you pay for your friend’s bail, you do not get back.
The Cost of Bail
Bail is set at various amounts depending on a long list of factors. The most influential factor is the type of criminal charge. Indiana has a set bail schedule for all misdemeanors and felonies, but judges can modify these set amounts at their own discretion, based on the factors mentioned before. See our blog, “Local County Bail Bond Schedules for Indianapolis” to learn the current bail amounts.
The cost of a bail bond is derived by a person’s bail amount set by the judge. You see, bail bondsmen charge a certain percentage of the total bail amount. So, if a defendant’s bail is set at $10,000, a bail bondsman will charge a percentage of that amount, which is what you will pay. However, bail bondsmen cannot fully choose their rates; the Department of Insurance regulates how much a bail bond company can charge for their services. Currently, the percentage is set between 10% and 15%, which means a bail bondsman can use personal discretion and charge a client any amount between that range.
Bail Bond Contract
You must sign a bail bond contract to bail your friend out of jail, which strictly binds you to certain legal requirements. Signing a bail bond contract means that you are accepting the terms and conditions of the agreement, which includes contractually agreeing to ensure the defendant appears for all scheduled court hearings, as well as, paying the bail bond premium. So if your friend’s bail is set at $10,000, and they do not appear for court, you are legally required to pay all of that back to the bail agent. Furthermore, you would be responsible for tracking down your friend and ensuring they go to court, as well as, paying any fines and related fees for the missed court date.
Where Can I Get Cheap Bail Bonds in Indianapolis?
Call Woods Bail Bonds at 317-876-9600 to talk to a friendly Indianapolis bail bondsman about getting your friend out of jail in Central Indiana. Right now, we are currently offering an 8% fee for bail bonds! This is the lowest rate in years, and only available here! That means you only pay 8% of your total bond amount, rather than the standard 10 to 15% rates required across the state. In order to qualify for this low rate, you must meet certain criteria. Call 317-876-9600 today to learn if you can qualify for 8% bail bonds in Indiana!