When you get a call from a distressed loved one who's been arrested and needs bail money, your first inclination may be to run down and offer help. However, you want to make sure you understand all the facts first. If the bail amounts to a substantial amount of money, you could suffer a huge financial loss if your loved one goes on the run. Here are some things to consider before posting bail for someone else.
Consider A Bail Bond Company When Funds Are Low
If the bail is for a small amount and you have cash on hand, you might consider paying the money a risk worth taking. However, if you don't have the cash, your alternative is to use a bail bond company. The company secures the bond for a fee. As long as your relative shows up for court dates, you'll be in the clear. If your relative goes into hiding, you'll be on the hook to the bond company. Before the company pays the bail, you'll have to sign a contract that's legally binding. If your relative goes on the run, the bail bond company can sue you and take your home or other possessions to cover the cost of the bail.
Realize You'll Pay Bounty Hunter Fees Too
You may end up paying much more than the original bail amount. If your relative flees or goes into hiding, then the bond company will use a bounty hunter to go after your loved one. The bounty hunter may look for several months and travel to other states and run up a large bill for his or her services. The bail bond company passes this expense on to you. Paying for the bounty hunter could increase the amount you owe by a significant amount.
Understand The Risk Of Missing Court Dates
Before you sign a contract with a bail bond company or put up bail with the court, you'll want to understand what will happen if your loved one misses a court date based on state laws and local court rulings. Missing a single court date might be forgiven if your loved one was in a car accident, in the hospital, or had some other excuse. Serious consequences come into play when your loved one disappears or misses dates as a habit. The legal proceedings could be drawn out depending on the charges your loved one faces. He or she will need to show up at every single court session, which could keep you in a state of worry for months. If your family member disappears, the judge may issue a warrant. You might still have a grace period during which you can find your relative and return them to the authorities before they are considered on the run. Since your finances may be in jeopardy if you agree to post bail, you'll want to take time to understand all the details concerning what will happen if your loved one fails to appear in court.
Deciding whether to post bail is a personal decision based on your loved one's history and your available funds. If you could potentially lose a large amount of money and your loved one has an alcohol or drug problem, they could disappear for days at a time, so it may not be worth the risk to help them. However, if your loved one has no criminal history and you want to help, you can start by calling a bail bond company for assistance. Visit a site like http://www.abailnowbailbonds.com for more.