How do I get information about becoming a bounty hunter?

We have found that the best and fastest way is to just start emailing bail bond agents and ask for advice.  The fact is that these are the people who will be paying you and are very knowledgeable about the process (and helpful!).  You can get the email addresses off their websites.  Look for websites that have “bail”, “bond”, “bondsman”, “surety” or “bounty hunter” in the name or description.

The role of a bounty hunter

When a person get arrested, they can usually get a bail bonds agent to post bail. The bail is to guarantee that if the defendant is released they will make all court appearances. Should the defendant not show up for a court appearance, called skipping bail, then the bail bond agent risks losing all their money that was posted for the bail.

The bounty hunter tracks down the defendant, now a fugitive, and brings them back to trial so the bail bonds agent can recover some or all of their money.

Why be a bounty hunter?

Unlike the wild west days, bounty hunting has become a respected profession in the law enforcement field.  Often called Fugitive Recovery Agents or Bail/Bond Enforcement Agents, they provide a needed service and in many cases bail bond agents and law enforcement rely on them to bring fugitives to justice.

While the income varies by state, the bounty hunter can earn a very good living.  Sometimes a bounty hunter is paid a set fee, usually about 10% of the bail, but in some cases we have heard of  bounty hunters getting as much as 75% of the bail amount for bringing the fugitive in.   If you track down a few fugitives who had bail of $100,000 or more, you can see how profitable it can be.  The famous bounty hunter Duane “Dog” Chapman, received 10% of a million dollar bail for bringing in the heir to the Max Factor fortune, Andrew Luster.  Your income is based on the number of fugitives you bring in so it can be very lucrative.

How to become a bounty hunter

Most countries outside of the United States do not allow bounty hunting and currently there are seven states that limit it.  In the USA it is legally recognized by the 1872 Supreme Court case Taylor v. Taintor.  So you will need to operate in the USA.  However, even though it is legal in the USA it is still regulated on a state by state basis.

Every state has its own requirements and the authority of the bounty hunter varies by state as well.  So for instance, you may be allowed to carry a concealed weapon in some states but not others.  Bounty hunters also need to know the rules for bounty hunting in neighboring states and countries as well since fleeing fugitives will often leave the area.

In general, a state will require:

  • An application accompanied by an application fee
  • A background check and fingerprint.  Each state is different in how strict they are with this.  For instance, some states have licensed felons and others with criminal records
  • You generally do not need a formal education
  • Must be 18 years old
  • In some cases, will require you to have a license to carry a firearm

Nothing stated herein should be construed or interpreted to grant rights or remedies not otherwise granted under federal or state law. This information is provided as a public service and is not intended as a substitute for legal advice or representation by a lawyer or bail bondsman. We recommend you email a bail bondsman for more information about becoming a bounty hunter situation.

If you are interested in detailed (and complex) information about the Arizona bail bonds forms such as L-BFP and L-BRA you can find them here.

How do I get information about becoming a bail bondsman?

We have found that the best and fastest way is to just start emailing bail bond agents and ask for advice.  The fact is that these are the people who will be paying you and are very knowledgeable about the process (and helpful!).  You can get the email addresses off their websites.  Look for websites that have “bail”, “bond”, “bondsman”, or “surety” in the name or description.

This can be a tricky situation and you certainly need to get some quick bail bonds. You have no one to call to bail you out, and during your booking you had all your credit cards, money and identification taken from you. They have even taken your cell phone with all your contacts so you don’t even have a number to call. The good news is that you obviously have internet access and that can be a powerful tool to help you.  This is available in some facilities in Texas and other states.

If you have a valid email address, you can start a conversation with a bail bondsman. Look for a website of a bail bondsman, their email addresses are always prominently displayed on their home page. Send them an email and ask what the process is in your situation. Most of them read their email 24 hours a day, so they should get back to you quickly.

If you do not have a valid email account or you have one but the jail internet settings do not allow you to access it, you still have options. Most bail bond websites have communication tools that do not require email. For instance, some have chat rooms so you can interact live with an agent. Most have contact forms that you can fill in and submit. It is important that you provide as much information as possible on this form. Your name, birth date, the charges against you, and where you are being held are necessary to start with. If you have the ability to pay for their bond fees (for instance the jail is holding your credit card but you can’t access it), you should also let them know. Since they can’t contact you back, you will need to provide as much information to them as possible so they can come down to your facility to talk to you.

TIP: a prison official gave me this interesting tip, which even I had not heard of. If you can’t get a bond agent to come to you, some jails allow bond agencies to use 3rd party pick up. The jail will allow an authorized transportation company to take you from the holding facility to the bail bond agency for the purpose of getting bail. You may want to let the bond agent know that you are willing to do this and ask about this in your email to them.

Nothing stated herein should be construed or interpreted to grant rights or remedies not otherwise granted under federal or state law. This information is provided as a public service and is not intended as a substitute for legal advice or representation by a lawyer or bail bondsman. We recommend you email a bail bondsman for more information about your situation.

Unfortunately, we know that bad things can happen to good people.   If you just got the call from a loved one asking for bail help, read this page first and then read our need help now page.

First, do not panic

First of all, the most important thing is to not panic. The legal system must follow certain procedures and understanding those will help you through the process. Those procedures and regulations may vary by jurisdiction or state and an attorney or bail bondsman can explain the local process.

Second, think big picture

friend needing bail bondsSecond of all, you may be asking yourself if you should bail someone out. Perhaps you are angry, perhaps you feel the need to teach them a lesson, perhaps as a parent you want to give your child a dose of “tough love.” From our perspective, jail can be a brutal, terrifying and very dangerous place, and few lessons worth learning were ever learned in jail. There is time to be frustrated and mad later but think about it, do you really want to leave someone you care about locked in a room with perhaps dozens of violent criminals for an extended period of time? TIP: if you are bailing out someone who may have issues that you think may make them a flight risk – and cost you your bail money – there are steps you can take to protect you. 1. You can require that the defendant accept completion of a treatment program for drug, alcohol, emotional and other problems in order to receive bail. 2. You can also request that the court order frequent check-ins from the defendant as well. 3. If the defendant will not coorporate with you, you can get a list of all required court appearances from the bondsman so you can ensure they make all appearances. 4. You can request the bondsman uses a GPS ankle bracelet on the defendant to track their whereabouts at all times.

Third, be prepared

Third, if you get a call from someone in jail who has just been arrested, it is vital that you get as much information from them as possible. What jail are they in? How long have they been there? When were they arrested? The answers may be necessary for you later to help them or to get a bail set up.

The bail bond process

Many people feel overwhelmed by the complexity of the process so we have put together this simplified chronological guideline for you.

In general, here is the process:

*An arrest occurs when an officer feels a crime has been committed and takes the accused into custody and the arrest is considered complete when the person being arrested is no longer free to walk away.

*After the arrest, the person will be taken to the booking room, usually at the local police station, or jail facility. In some parts of the country, particularly the mid-west getting booked is also known as getting slated.

*During the booking process, the arrested person will be asked to surrender the personal property and money they have on themselves. They will be asked to verify the inventory and the property will be placed in a safe place until it can be returned although perishables may be destroyed. During their time in jail they will not have access to these items including their cell phone, credit cards and money.

Contraband and other illegal substances will be seized, and criminal charges may be brought for their possession or conveyance into a detention facility.

*The arrested person will be asked to provide information about themselves such as name, address, birthdate and similar information. Fingerprints and a photo will also be taken as well as a check for warrants, and a background check. Some facilities have the capability to do a national background check as well. The inmate is interviewed by various people, receive a medical intake screening, and standard jail issued clothing, bedding, and toiletry items.

*After being processed and entered in to the computer database (booked), some jurisdictions allow the arrested person to make a telephone call. This call is meant for the purpose of obtaining a lawyer or securing bail. In some cases, a call can be placed to someone like a family member to arrange an attorney or bail. The phone call may be allowed before the defendant is taken to a cell, or in some cases there is a pay phone within a cell. The call must typically be done by “collect call.” TIP: a jailer I interviewed mentioned to me that some defendants turn their cell phone in, and then realize once in their cell that they don’t have or can’t remember their important phone numbers. In the cell holding area, often there is only a pay phone and you have to know the number you are calling to use it to make a collect call. Often, we plug numbers into our phone and only make calls by using the contact list. Unlike the old days, cell phones have made it so convemient that we don’t have to learn the numbers. If you don’t have your numbers memorized, ask if you can write them down before turning in your phone.

*This entire process of being booked can take anywhere from less than an hour to several hours depending on how efficient and busy the jail is.

*At this point, all information will be sent to the prosecuting office to determine what, if any charges are to be filed. WARNING: the prosecutors usually have the right to change the charges later and they often do.

*Next will be an appearance in court usually called an arraignment or “first appearance”. The judge will ask if attorney representation is needed. You can ask to be represented by a public Defender and if deemed indigent by the court, an attorney will be provided. Often, however, a defendant feels it is in their best interest to hire a private attorney. The arrested person may at this time be asked if they plead guilty or not guilty, or in some cases, no contest.

*Depending on the jurisdiction and the circumstances, the judge may set bail at this time. The bail amount can vary widely and depend on the charge and other contributing factors. The judge will look at things such as if the defendant has a criminal history, or a history of not showing up for court appearances, whether the defendant is a risk to others, whether the defendant has ties to the community, the stability of residence, work history and the nature of the crime. The bail will usually be refunded upon completion of the trial, regardless of the verdict. Without bail, the defendant will remain in jail until the conclusion of their trial.

TIP: See our states section for more detail about the process in the jurisdiction you are in. See our section on working with a bailbondsman for the steps in securing the bail bond.

After posting the bail, the release process is started for the defendant. The defendant is brought from their cell, personal belongings are returned, computer information is be updated and the defendant will be given paperwork detailing when and where they are to appear.

Nothing stated herein should be construed or interpreted to grant rights or remedies not otherwise granted under federal or state law. This information is provided as a public service and is not intended as a substitute for legal advice or representation by a lawyer or bail bondsman. We recommend you email a bail bondsman for more information about your situation.

Finding a reliable bail bonding agency is similar to finding any reliable company or service. Fortunately, most are authorized or licensed by the state they are in and there are not many rogue agencies anymore. We suggest contacting more than one bail bond agency. Their email and contact information are always easily found on the home page of their website. If you prefer not to use email, many bail bond websites now have online forms that you can fill out, and they usually try to get back to you immediately.

TIP: many of the agencies that offer bail bonds, Las Vegas in particular, now have 24 hour chat available on their websites.  These enable you to have a private and confidential online conversation with the bail bondsman.

WARNING: While illegal in many if not most states, it is still common in some jurisdictions for bail bondsmen to use less than professional tactics to get business. For example, they may loiter and solicit business by approaching people in the courthouse. On occasion they will actually cold call defendant families looking for business. Another tactic is to pay commissions to jail inmates for “referring” their cell mates to certain bail bond agents. These tactics are designed to prey on people who are desperate. If you come across any of these situations, we recommend you avoid them.

How can I find the best bail bonds?

We recommend starting your search for a reliable bail bond agent by using the following steps:

*Read this site so you have an understanding about how do bail bonds work.

*Review bail bond agency websites. Does the site have clear information about their process? Is it written in a way that makes you feel comfortable? Do they list their fees?

*Call, email or use online chat to get more information. You may want to ask them what jurisdictions they work with. What are their fees? Are there any hidden fees? Will they help guide you through the bail system? What is the process?

*We recommend contacting two or three, and compare your experiences with each. Did they answer your questions? Do you feel comfortable with them? Are they full-service and can provide all the services you may need? TIP: it is possible to use a local bail agent to get bail for someone in a different area, or even a different state. Some bail bonding agencies can transfer bonds from other areas. For example, you live in New York, but your loved one was arrested in Las Vegas. Bail bonds can often be transferred by one bondsman to another, even in a different state. You may not need to travel to the jurisdiction where the arrest occured.

*A bail bond agent that I know in California suggested that you may want to verify if they are licensed and what affiliations they have. For instance if they are in Los Angeles do they belong to the California Bail Agents Association (CBAA), or the Professional Bail Agents Association (PBUS) or perhaps the Orange County Bail Agents Association (OCBAA)?

*After emailing with them, you then may want to visit their street location. Make sure that they have explained (and you understand) everything before entering into a contract.

Should I go with a big agency like Aladdin Bail Bonds, or a smaller family run one?

The answer to this is that even though it is a personal decision, it is best to email more than one, and if size is a concern, you can ask them how many employees they have.  The rule of thumb is that a smaller agency may provide better customer service, so see if you have that impression from the email responses you get. TIP: many agencies wil let you use them for a reference after your time is served. Don’t be afraid to ask.

Nothing stated herein should be construed or interpreted to grant rights or remedies not otherwise granted under federal or state law. This information is provided as a public service and is not intended as a substitute for legal advice or representation by a lawyer or bail bondsman. We recommend you email a bail bondsman for more information about your situation.

The Secrets To Getting Free Or Affordable Bail Bonds

The answer is often yes, there can be affordable bail bonds, no collateral bail bonds and in some cases, even free bail bonds.

There are a number of tricks and little known loopholes in getting free bail bonds, no collateral bail bonds or at least affordable bail bonds. Even if you go through a bail bondsman, there are ways to minimize your costs. The advantage is that the bondsman can provide guidance, knows how the process works, and can post bail to get your loved one released, usually within a few hours. For some people, this can be a very intimidating and confusing process.

However, if you can’t or don’t want to pay a bail bondsman, or just don’t feel they offer affordable bail bonds, what can you do?

Here are a few options to get affordable bail bonds:

*You can ask the court to release the defendant on their own recognizance (known as OR). Depending on the severity of the crime, the court may release a defendant on their own recognizance without the need for bail. This is based on how much the court thinks is the risk of the defendant not showing up for their court appearances. They may look at past convictions (if any), and if the defendant has been shown to be a generally good citizen among other things. When granted, the defendant is released with a written promise to appear in court. No bail necessary.

*You can ask for a “Citation Release” known as a “Cite Out.” The judge issues a citation to the defendant, informing the defendant that they must appear for an appointed court date. Depending on the jursidiction, this is often (but not always) used for less serious infractions. No bail necessary.

*If bail is set, you may still be able to request a Motion to Modify a Bond. This bail bonds process is typically confirmed by writing and your hearing date will be scheduled. Sometimes they will hear your motion on a letter and not require you to appear. We have found that judges and presecutors are often open to negotiating on this. You may have to agree to do things like agreeing to undergo counseling, to stay away from the victim, or to undergo in-house arrest. If bail is modified it may be heavily reduced or even dropped, so there will be no bail necessary.

*You can put up the money yourself and pay the bail in full. By doing this you do not need to pay the bail fee and that might make for more affordable bail bonds. If you don’t have the money to do this, you may need to take a collection from friends and family members. After the trial, everyone will get a full refund with the possible exception of minor court fees, so there is no risk (assuming the defendant makes all court appearances). TIP: Some bail bondsmen that we have talked to will help you pay the bond yourself and even coordinate the pooling of funds for a small fee. This may be worthwhile if you are having a hard time navigating the system while your loved one sits in jail.

*Obtain financing. There are some banks that do this, and in many cases the bail bonding agencies will provide affordable bail bonds financing as well. In some cases 100%! Sometimes the bondsman will want to see paychecks to show that you are working and can make the payments. If this is a problem, ask if they can accept multiple co-signers. They may be willing to finance if two or more people can sign the financing contract. Please visit bail bond/surety websites for more information about this.

*Request the judge set an unsecured bail. This means you don’t have to put up any money or collateral but you promise to pay the bail in full and forfeit your money should you not make your court appearances. This affordable bonding method was made famous when used during the sexual abuse charges against Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky.

* The agents who are using modern technology such as websites, and online bail capabilities are now exploring GPS bracelets on defendants. With these, the bondman can keep track of your whereabouts and that means they have less risk of you skipping bail and leaving them holding the bag on your bond. With less risk, they are finding that they don’t always need collateral. In fact, for those that qualify, many bail bondsman are providing bail with no collateral requirements at all. The new bracelets are waterproof, small, light, and non-descript. If you don’t have collateral, we strongly recommend that you email a few bondsmen and ask if they use GPS monitoring for clients.

What If You Don’t Have Affordable Bail Bonds or Can’t Afford The Bail Or Need Bail Bonds Without Collateral For The Bail Amount?

*If the bail has been set, and you can not afford it, most jurisdictions will allow you to appeal the bond through your attorney.

*You may be able to file a notice of appeal based on your lack of funds. This is sometimes called Poor Peoples Relief.

*In some areas there are private organizations and publicly funded organizations that may help you with the bail or give you recommendations. They vary across the country. For example, in New York City there are several such as the Legal Aid Society, the 18-B Panel of the Appellate Division, the New York County Defenders Services, and Neighborhood Defender Services.

*It can vary depending on the area and jurisdiction. An example for cheap bail bonds Las Vegas is a city that has many options unavailable elsewhere. Another example would be the variety of options offered by bail bondsman New York City.

No collateral bail bonds

TIP: If you do go to a bail bondsman, ask if they can provide a no-collateral bail (sometimes known as a “signature bond” because all that is required is your signature and the fee). If you have to go through them, this method may allow you to get the bail without tying up all your funds as well. That money may be needed for other court and attorney costs later.

Bail Remission

If for some reason you made a mistake and missed your required court hearings, the courts will typically keep your bail deposit. However, in some jurisdictions like New York City, you can request a Bail Remission. This is a process where you can request to have your bail that was forfeited to be refunded to you. TIP: The courts that allow this will rarely tell you about this option, so remember to ask.

For more information from a strictly academic perspective, here is the “legal speak” version from Cornell Law School regarding affordable bail bonds and getting collateral for bail bonds.

Nothing stated herein should be construed or interpreted to grant rights or remedies not otherwise granted under federal or state law. This information is provided as a public service and is not intended as a substitute for legal advice or representation by a lawyer or bail bondsman. We recommend you email a bail bondsman for more information about your situation and affordable bail bonds.

If you are inquiring for someone else, click here.  If this is for yourself, continue reading.

Can I Post Bond When I Turn Myself In?

Before you turn yourself in, you may want to email a bail bondsman. In many cases, they can often prepare the paperwork for you in advance, and make arrangements to be at the time and place that you will be turning yourself in. They can help expedite the process and sometimes post bond the moment you are booked so you don’t have to spend a minute more in jail than you have to. By emailing them first, you can retain your privacy and identity, while gathering all the information you need. Email addresses for bail bondsmen can be found on any bail bondsmen websites.

We have even heard of cases where a credit card and permission to use, was given to the bail bondsman in advance and they were able to post bail immediately without any further requirements or paperwork.

Can I get bail with a warrant?

There have been cases where a person has a warrant out for them, has sent the bail bondsman to the police station or sheriff’s department and bail was posted, WITHOUT the accused even having to appear. Again, you should email a bondsman and find out what the options are in that jurisdiction to see if something like this is available to you.

If you have a warrant issued because you missed your court appearance, there may still be options available to fix it. One option is to ask your bail agent to reschedule a new bail hearing. If that doesn’t work, another option is to ask your bail agent to come with you to turn yourself in. Allow yourself to be booked and request that a new bail be set. If allowed, your bondsman will there and ready to get you out.

TIP: See if the court has a walk in calendar. If so, you may be able to attend it, pay a fee, ask for the warrant to be dismissed, and basically get a fresh start. This is a rarely known option.

Are bail conversations confidential?

Confidentiality may be very important to you under these circumstances. Fortunately, we are living in an age where websites make that possible. The advantage for you is that you can get information and communicate with bail bondsmen anonomously on their websites. They always have an email address on their home page, and today, more so than ever, they understand that people often need privacy. So they have alternative ways to communicate outside of email and phones. For instance, many offer online chat rooms where you can talk to a representative, or online forms where you can submit a question.

They also often can work with you to get a bail bond without your ever having to step into their offices. It can be done by downloading forms from their site, or descretely by phone, email, fax and other means.

TIP: Bail bondsmen can often recommend lawyers in these cases as well. They often have a good feel for which attorneys may be best for certain charges, or working in certain courthouses, or with specific judges. If you do not have an attorney, you may want to email a couple bondsmen and get recommendations.

I recommend that you are upfront with the bondsman and don’t hold anything back.  They will find out anyway, and you may only make things more difficult for youself later.

If you are inquiring for someone else

This can be a very tricky situation.  Most likely, your son, husband, or boyfriend has made a mistake and now is not sure how to handle it.  You want to get them help without getting them in more trouble.  So what do you do?

I recommend that you visit a bail bondsman’s website and use their online chat room.  This will give you the privacy and anonymity you need without worrying about someone tracking you from using a phone.  You will be able to ask the hard questions and your loved one will remain safe until they are in a position to turn themselves in.  Some of the questions you may need to ask are:

-If you know the charges, you can ask what the typical bail amount is.

-You can ask if they can meet you for a confidential consultation.

-You can ask for advice as to what the best way is for someone to turn themselves in.

Do not be embarrassed by these questions.  You have someone that needs help so be strong and if you use their website, they won’t know who you are anyway.  Trust me, the bondsmen have seen worse and I have found that they are non-judgemental.   More than likely they will be sympathic and helpful as well as explain how does a bail bond work in that jurisdiction.    Good luck to you.

Nothing stated herein should be construed or interpreted to grant rights or remedies not otherwise granted under federal or state law. This information is provided as a public service and is not intended as a substitute for legal advice or representation by a lawyer or bail bondsman. We recommend you email a bail bondsman for more information about your situation.

There are numerous websites available to get information about this subject but do you really want to spend the next couple hours studying them? You don’t have to – we have found that the best way to get information is by contacting a bail bondsman directly. It is easy to get a quote from them and that is one of the best ways to improve a paper.

First, look for websites that have “bail”, “bond” or “surety” in the name or description.

Second, visit the site. Bail bond agencies are open 24 hours and their websites always have an email address on the home page. If you don’t want to wait for an email response, you will find that many bail bondsmen have instant chat on their websites now as well.

Email them a question right now or use the instant chat and in a few minutes you will have first hand information and also a great quote for your research paper.

If you want more than one quote (which we suggest), hit your browser back button and then visit another bail bondsman website and ask another question.

We have done a lot of research for this site just that way and have always found them to be helpful and friendly. Good luck to you.


I have created this simple step-by-step guide for your emergency situation.

I suggest you take one minute to read this entire page first and then follow these five simple steps one-by-one:

1) Start visiting bail bondsmen websites right now
2) Pick a few that seem reputable and professional
3) Follow my suggestions for what to ask and then contact them by email
4) While waiting for responses, continue learning from this site or continue contacting more bondsmen
5) Pick a bondsman to call and make arrangements for the bail

1) Start visiting bail bondsmen websites right now

Look for websites that have “bail”, “bond”, “bondsman”, or “surety” in the name or description. Visit their sites and look to see if they are professional and that you are comfortable with how they describe and promote their business. Their email and contact information will be prominently displayed on their sites. IMPORTANT TIP: The bail agent does NOT have to be in the same town (or state) of the arrest and detention center.  In fact many can work with other bail agents to arrange bail almost anywhere in the country. This is called a Transfer Bond and is very common. They can often refer you to reliable bail agents in other areas as well. The important thing is to start contacting them now.

2) Contact them nowemail a bail bondsman

I suggest that you email or use a website form to contact at least three bail bondsmen IMMEDIATELY for these reasons:

-They are almost always open 24 hours and respond to email around the clock.

-It gives you a chance to compose your thoughts and ask the right questions upfront.

-You will receive the answers in writing. This is probably the most important reason because in the moment of panic, you sometimes won’t understand or remember everything said in a phone conversation. Also, you will be signing a legal contract with the bondsman so their email response will be important to obtain a written record of all quoted costs. Remember, for a short period of time, you are putting your loved one in their hands, and just pulling a random name out of a phone book does not give you the valuable information about them that you can get from a website and emails.

TIP: I remember when it happened to me, everything seemed a blur after I got off the phone with the bondsman. He talked about a Nebia Hearing, hard collateral, federal bonds, extra fees, and a bunch of things I just plain didn’t understand. When he was saying it, I thought I understood, but after I hung up, I realized I didn’t which made things worse. Don’t let this happen to you – use email and get a written record of what was stated by the bondsman.

3) Put this in the email

If you have it, provide them with any of this information that you may have:

  • Defendant’s name
  • Facility or vacinity they are being held in
  • The charges (if you know)
  • Your relationship to the defendant
  • If you happen to have their birthdate and inmate number then include that information too.

If you do not have any or all of this information, don’t worry, just provide what you have. The bond agents almost always have direct access to the court records database and can look up all the information they need. Ask them what their fees are, what your next steps are and any other questions you may have. They will usually respond very quickly regardless of the day or time.

4) After sending the email

While you are waiting for their response, hit your back button and then pick another bail bonds website and try again.

You can also continue reading this site for more information or email more bail bondsman to get a better selection.

Once you have responses from several, then you can decide which ones you want to email back with more questions (they will be waiting), or to call to start the process.  If you don’t like any of them, continue contacting more bondsmen until you find one you are comfortable with.

Jail can be a dangerous and tramatic place so it is critical to get started now. Stay calm and we wish you the best of luck.

Nothing stated herein should be construed or interpreted to grant rights or remedies not otherwise granted under federal or state law. This information is provided as a public service and is not intended as a substitute for legal advice or representation by a lawyer or bail bondsman. We recommend you email a bail bondsman for more information about your situation.

Today, the process is so simplified that if you prefer you can do everything over the phone or by email. This is really helpful if you live far from the court and the bondsman can be indespensible in helping you from a distance.

How does a bail bondsman work?

The court will issue the bail amount. It will then be up to you to come up with the money. If you have cash, you can post the bail yourself. The downside is that your money may be held by the court for a long time and if the defendant misses a court date, you could be out of the money. If you are unable or don’t want to pay cash, you can go through a bail bond agency.

How does bail work?

The bail bondsman makes his money by fronting the bail amount to the court and charging you a percentage of it. If the defendant fufills all court appearances, the bondsman will receive a refund of his money from the court.

Most bail bond agencies and their fees are licensed and regulated by government agencies.

How do they post bail, and what do I need to know?

The first step is for the bondsman to walk you through the entire process before asking you to sign a contract. Make sure you understand all charges, premiums, and other fees, as well as exactly what the bail bondsman will do. It is important that you understand everything.

They will ask you for various types of information, although this varies greatly by jurisdiction and by the bail bonding agency. They may ask your name, what city you live in, your phone number and email, your birthdate, your place of work, the defendant’s name, defendant’s birthday, when was the defendant arrested, what your relationship is to the defendant, and what jail or city the defendant is in. Even if you are not prepared with this information, you can still start the process, and in many cases, the bond agents have access to databases that will fill in the information gaps for you. Be upfront with them, they have seen a lot worse than your case, so they don’t pass judgement and they never ask “why.” If you are concerned about your privacy, we recommend that you initially contact the bail agents via email or on their website chat rooms where you are anonymous. You can ask them if they share your information and what they do with it before you hand it over to them. Email addresses can be found on any bail bonds websites. Also, ideally you would want them to respond in writing in an email that they will not share any of your personal information. Some are upfront and disclose this on their websites.

Forms will usually need to be filled out and signed. They may include an information sheet, application and agreement, and perhaps a promissory note among others.

After reviewing the defendant and the case, the bondsman will tell you how much you will need to pay him for the bail service.

They will usually accept cash, cashiers checks, credit cards, wire transfers, and MoneyGrams. They may also run a credit report on you.

If you do not have the funds or can’t find affordable bail bonds, they will normally work with collateral. Most bondsmen will look seriously at any collateral you may have including titles to cars, trucks, houses and other deeds of trust. It helps if the collateral is lien free, and properly deeded or legally documented. In some cases, gemstones, gold, jewelry, stock certificates, credit cards, various forms of equipment and other items of value can also be used. In some cases, the bondsman will even help you refinance your home. TIP: some bondsmen are really open to creative collateral so don’t be afraid to ask. Also, there are cases where, when asked, they will provide financing of your cost so you have ZERO out of pocket expenses up front. Some will also allow you to pay what you can and they will finance the rest.

After agreeing to the amount and the service, you will need to complete a few documents. While it varies by state and jurisdiction, they might include a bail bond application and a bail indemnity agreement.

The bondsman will then post bail, and the defendant will be freed. TIP: an attorney I interviewed gave me this great tip, sometimes a case will take more than a year, but the bond is usually only good for a year and then you have to pay again based on what bail is at that time. Around the 10th or 11th month you may want to have your attorney request a bail reduction from the court. If you have been meeting all your court dates, they may reduce or even waive the bail. This will save you a lot of money when you have to renew bail.

TIP: We recommend visiting a bail bond company’s website and contacting them by email or phone for further questions about your specific situation.  Because of the nature of their business, they are usually quick to respond and I have found them to be very professional, helpful and non-judgemental.  Their email and phone numbers are always clearly listed on their website and most are open 24 hours.

Nothing stated herein should be construed or interpreted to grant rights or remedies not otherwise granted under federal or state law. This information is provided as a public service and is not intended as a substitute for legal advice or representation by a lawyer or bail bondsman. We recommend you email a bail bondsman for more information about your situation.

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