When you find out that your loved one is arrested, you might feel the urge instantly enter problem-solving mode. Parts of the situation are out of your hands, but helping your loved one post bond is one of the most helpful things you can do to help get them temporarily out of jail.
Find out the name of the arresting agency and the name of arresting officer(s) to have for future reference. Ask the officer where your loved one is being booked and where you can bond them out. In some cases, your loved one may qualify for recognizance or signature bond. This means they will be referred from jail after they go through booking procedures without having to post the bond.
Determine the charge
Ask the arresting officer or the jail what the specific charge was. You can also ask to see a document called the charging instrument which lists the exact name of the alleged crime and the particular code section.
Think twice before contacting a bondsman
If your loved one is held to a high money bond, then you may want to consider contacting a bail bondsman. These are individuals and businesses who lend money to people to post bond. It might seem like a good idea under pressure, but there are grave risks associated with bail bond agencies. Talk to your lawyer first to come up with other options before resorting to a bondsman.
When posting bond, you might be required to pay an additional $50 fee. Most county jails have a bond out window somewhere in the administrative section of the building. You should think of the bond as a gift to your friend or loved one. Don’t plan on getting the money back. Bond may be forfeited for failure to appear at future court dates; it may be assigned your loved one’s attorney, or it may be used to pay your loved one’s fines and court costs. If there is any bond left over after the resolution of the case, it will be refunded to the person who posted the bond minus an administrative fee of usually about 10% of the bond amount.
Arrange a ride
Don’t forget to arrange a ride for your loved one upon their release on bond. Some police stations and county jails are not in the safest neighborhoods, so you don’t want your loved one stranded there without a ride.
Take care of day to day needs
If your loved one can’t post bond, they may need your help with other things until their release. For example, you might need to provide the jail with your loved one’s prescriptions. You also may want to contact their school, job or other obligations and inform them of their absence. Also, keep in mind things like rent and bills that need to be paid while you’re loved one is incarcerated.