Bailing Your Buddy Out: The Risk You Run

When a person is arrested for a crime, they may require bail to get them released from jail.  Bail is an amount of money needed to release the suspect from jail and guarantee their appearance in court.  One way to post bail is through a surety bond, commonly known as a bail bond with a company like Nickel Bail Bonds

How Bail Bonds Work

There are businesses that specialize in bail bonds.  They are backed by a special kind of insurance and will pay a suspect's bail for an upfront fee.  This bond fee is usually 10% of the entire bail amount.  If bail is set at $10,000, the fee to release the suspect would be $1,000.  The fee is non-refundable.

Collateral is also collected to ensure that the remaining portion of the bail will be paid if the suspect fails to show up for their court dates.  Collateral can take many forms, such as vehicles, real estate, stocks, jewelry, or even your bank account.

After the non-refundable bond fee is paid, and collateral is collected, the suspect is released from jail and has a duty to appear in court.

Missing Court Date

If you decided to bail your friend or loved one out of jail, and they miss any of their court dates, the bond is considered to be in default.  This is not good for you!  At this point you are at a huge risk to lose any money and collateral that was put up. 

If this occurs, the court will send a notice to the bail bond agency.  There is sometimes a grace period to bring the defendant in, but this is up to the discretion of the court.  A bench warrant will be issued by the court for the arrest of the defendant.  

If the court allows extra time to bring the defendant in, it is in your best interest to try to find them and convince them to allow you to turn them in to the police.  If this occurs, you may be off the hook for the remainder of the bail amount.  If the police end up arresting the defendant on their bench warrant, there is a chance you will be saved, also.  Some bail bond agencies might also employ a bounty hunter to track the defendant down and bring them in. 

If there is any reason for you to believe that your friend or family member will not show up for their court date, it is in your best interest to not bail them out of jail.  If you do not bail them out, they are likely to be transported to another facility, where they will wait for their court date.  While this could range from days to over a year, your assets will be protected.