Why you need a bail bondsman

You know you’ve had a bad day when you or someone you know needs to purchase a bail bond. Bail is money used to get someone out of jail after an arrest.

If your bail is high, you may have to contact a bail bond agent — someone who coordinates your release until your court appearance. See these profiles of bail bond agents on Kudzu.com.

What is a bail bond?

A bail bond is a written guarantee that you will appear in court. A bail bond agent provides the majority of the bail money and charges a typical fee of 10 to 15 percent of the actual bail amount.

A bail bond acts as a lien against something of equal value to the remaining bail amount. For example, if your bail is set for $10,000, you may need to put up $1,000 in cash to obtain the bond. You then would sign a lien against your home, or another valuable item, to secure the remaining $9,000 of the bond.

There are four types of bonds:

  • Cash-only
  •  Secured
  •  Unsecured
  •  Signature / own recognizance

How do I purchase a bail bond?

Driving through shady neighborhoods, you may have seen storefronts that state "purchase bail bonds here" or offer fast ways to secure a lien. Taking advantage of those offers might get you into even more trouble, so it's best to find a licensed and secured bail bond agent.

A call to the state insurance commissioner's office will tell you about licensing requirements for bail bond agents. Bail bond agents who are licensed are also required to abide by a code of ethics and exercise confidentiality in dealing with your case.

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