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If someone you know is arrested, you might get one of those harrowing phone calls where they ask you to bail them out. It’s great that they have you to call, but if you’re going to try to help, there is work to do. You have to find out where they are being held, what the charges are, and what you can do about it.
In particular, you’ll need to know the answer to this question: how do you find out someone’s bail? You can’t pay the bail if you don’t know how much it is.
Today, we’re going to cover the whole process. You’ll see how you can get information on the bail. You can also find out how to post bail, how the whole system works and what your options are if you can’t afford the bail.
It’s a complete breakdown so that you always have a reliable resource if you’re faced with this particular challenge.
When a person is arrested, they will have to appear before a judge. Sometimes, the appearance is a simple hearing where the judge will issue a fine or some other determination. Other times, there is a long and difficult trial ahead.
Regardless of the proceedings, courts often use bail as a means to incentivize the defendant to appear when they are due in court.
Bail is really money. You have to pay a fee of sorts to get the courts to release the defendant.
As long as the defendant makes all of their required appearances, the bail money is returned in full. It’s not intended to be an actual fine, but if court appearances are missed, the court keeps the bail money.
If you’re looking to post bail, you need to know the price tag. These are the four best ways to find it.
Bail is set at a court hearing. That is when the judge hears the case and charges. The judge will use information — like the severity of the crime or flight risk — to assess and assign an appropriate bail.
If you want to know someone’s bail, the very best way is to be in the room when the amount is set. This removes any ambiguity, and it lets you know exactly what is happening and why.
Even though this is the best method, it isn’t always the easiest. If you can’t be in the room to hear the bail determination for yourself, you can move on to the other options on this list.
Ultimately, everything determined by a court is a public record, and that provides options.
In order to pay bail and secure release, you have to go through the courthouse. They handle the processes, and as such, they have access to bail information. You can call them, inquire in person, or use the website (provided they have one that regularly updates).
Any of these methods will enable you to find out the amount of the bail, and if you are trying to pay it, you will find that information too.
The trick to this method is that you need to know which courthouse is handling bail for the individual in question.
If you don’t know, you might need to search state records to find where they are held. From there, you can contact the courthouse and move forward.
If a person is arrested and bail is set, that means more legal proceedings are on the way. It’s always good to have a lawyer to run your legal defense. A defense lawyer has access to many resources — not least of which includes the ability to see bail.
The defense lawyer can help you plan and secure release from jail. In fact, this can help the defense case, as people who remain in jail have a higher conviction rate.
In any case, any time you are unsure about anything tied to legal systems, ask a lawyer. It’s the entire purpose of their job.
Bail agents or bondsmen are sanctioned by the state to help defendants pay bail.
Typically speaking, a bond agent will pay the court and secure release for a fee paid by the defendant or a third party willing to take responsibility. Since the bond agent is in the business of making bail payments, they need to know how much the bail costs.
They have direct access to resources with this information. If you are trying to find out someone’s bail, you can go to a bond agency and ask. You will need to provide the person’s name. You might also need the crime they are accused of committing and where they are being held.
With that info, the bond agent can find out everything you need to know about securing release.
If you are trying to find out someone’s bail, you might also be looking to pay it. Paying bail can be extremely simple. It can also turn complicated.
When you know a little more about the system, you can understand your options and find a way to get someone out of jail. The most common and accessible ways to pay bail are all listed below.
Browse through them and see if any are reasonable for your situation.
The easiest way to pay someone’s bail is to provide cash (or cash equivalent) to the courthouse. Cash does not necessarily mean paper money. Most courthouses will take checks or process debit payments. Many courts also accept credit cards.
The point is that the money is coming straight out of your pocket, and that’s the point. It’s a monetary incentive intended to persuade the defendant to make all of their hearings.
If you don’t have enough cash to pay bail, courts also accept collateral. It’s important to understand that this can get complicated. You can appeal to the court to allow collateral in lieu of cash. You must own the property used as collateral, and it will likely need to appraise for significantly more money than the original bail price.
If you clear those hurdles, the court might accept collateral and secure release.
This gets tricky if you try to use jointly owned property to secure bail. If you are a part-owner of a house, for instance, then every owner will need to agree to use the property as collateral.
It’s also important to understand the risk. If you put up property to secure bail and the defendant misses a court date, the courts will seize the property and use it to cover the cost of bail.
Perhaps the most common way to post bail is to get a bond. Bond agents can provide bonds for a service fee. Typically the fee is a percentage of the total bail. The bond agents sign a bond over to the courts. The defendant is released.
If the defendant misses a court date, the bond is collected, and the bond agent is out the full amount of the set bail.
In this case, the bond agent has several legally supported options.
First, they can hold the signee liable for the full amount of the bond plus the fee.
Second, they can apprehend the defendant and return them to jail in order to fulfill their court obligations.
When other options are not available, you can always ask for monetary assistance. You can talk to family and friends to try to raise the funds. You can talk to your boss about an advanced payment.
There are also resources like GoFundMe to try to acquire the funds.
The courts don’t care how you get the money as long as it is legally obtained and covers the amount that they set.
Once a person is released on bail, the process is not finished. They will have to make all required court appearances. This will include all related hearings and trials. Even when that concludes, there is more. Everything that happens with the courts becomes a public record.
Even if the defendant is acquitted or charges are dropped, the arrest and bail remain on the record.
In fact, they become a matter of permanent public record. Their name is forever tarnished by the proceedings unless they can get a court order to expunge or seal the records.
When your questions change from “How do you find out someone’s bail,” to “How do you expunge court records,” you will want some help. That is where Erase Mugshots can make all of the difference. We are a company that specializes in removing your name and face from the internet in order to protect your online reputation.