If you are unfamiliar with the process of bonding someone out of jail it can be be intimidating. This blog will walk you through the major steps and address some of the complicated areas where it is best to talk to an attorney.
If you find out that you have a warrant, the best thing to do is to be proactive. The steps you take will vary based on whether you choose to go through a bondsman or post a bond yourself but either way there will be logistics. It may sound obvious, but the way to ensure that you are in jail for the shortest amount of time is to get everything you need to do organized in advance. This list is not exhaustive, but it will address the high points.
Make sure you will not be held after you post bond.
Most of the time, bonding someone out of jail is as easy as following the steps listed below. However, sometimes bonding someone out of jail will not get them out. Here are some important questions to ask: does the person have pending charges in other jurisdictions? Does the person have unpaid traffic tickets and fines in other courtrooms? Was the person on probation when they picked up the new charges? To learn more about when someone can be held even after they post bond, click here.
Find out how much the bond amount is.
The bond amount will be on the arrest warrant along with the charge. If you know there is an outstanding warrant and you are trying to turn yourself in, the bond amount is easy to find out by calling the Sheriff’s office.
Learn the difference between a “cash bond” and going through a bondsman.
Traditionally, bond is an amount that the defendant will give to the Court to ensure that the defendant shows up when he is supposed to. Thus, if your bond amount is $10,000, you could be released from jail by showing up to the courthouse with that amount and the Court would hold onto that money until your case was tried.
Even today that is still one way to bond out of jail (we refer to it as a cash bond). However, that’s not a realistic option for most people. If you can’t afford to post the full amount of bond with the court there are other options. One is to go to a bondsman. The bondsman will post the bond on your behalf and charge you a fee to do so (usually 10% of the total bond amount).
A third option is called a percentage bond. This is only an option if the judge will agree to it. This is a cash bond where the judge agrees to allow you to pay the court only a percentage of the bond. For instance, a 10% cash bond on a $10,000 bond would only require you to post $1,000 at the courthouse. However, if you failed to appear in court you could become liable for the full $10,000.
Figure out which option is best for you.
The benefit of a cash bond is that you get the money back when your case is resolved. If you are found guilty, the court costs will be taken out of the amount you posted as bond. The downside is that unless the judge grants a percentage bond you will have to post the full bond amount up front. For the judge to enter an order granting a percentage bond could take days or even longer (during which time you would remain in jail).
The first benefit of going through a bondsman is that it’s cheaper up front than posting the full bond amount. The second benefit is that it’s almost always the fastest way to get out of jail. Because bondsmen get people out of jail for a living, they know the tricks to make it go faster. The downside it that the bondsman keeps the money you pay him as his fee. This is true even if you’re ultimately found not guilty, or even if the case is dismissed the day after you bond out of jail.
Calling a Bondsman:
If after weighing the pros and cons of each, you find that a bondsman is the best route, call one and explain the circumstances. When you talk to a bondsman, keep in mind that his goal is to ensure your presence in court so his decision to take up your bond will be based on whether he sees you as a flight risk. Remember, if you disappear then the bondsman will be on the hook for the full amount of your bond.
For a bail bondsman in Tuscaloosa, contact Ed Giles at Bail Bonds Express. Give him a call at 205-759-1048, or look up his information online at the link below.
To learn about how bond works, read the Alabama statute below.
For more questions about posting bond during business hours visit the link below or call the Tuscaloosa County Courthouse (205-349-3870) and request to speak to someone in the criminal division of the district court clerk’s office.
To find out information about a warrant, call the Tuscaloosa County Sheriff’s Office (205-752-0616) or visit the website below. You can also use this website to find out the status of inmates and information about warrants.