I have a friend/loved one in jail should I bail them out? By Daniel Smith

If you have been arrested and bail has been set, most people want to know if you should bail out.  If you can afford the entire amount of bail, then if you go to all your Court dates, you will get all your money back when your case is over.  If you need to go through a bail bondsman, then you have to make a decision.

When someone is arrested and taken to jail, you must be taken before a judge within three court days.  That sometimes can mean a week or so of real time depending on when you are arrested and if there are weekends or holidays coming up.

Bail is set based on a bail schedule.  The Courts have determined what the standard bail should be based on the seriousness of the charges against you.  If you use a bail bondsman, generally you pay them 10% of the bail amount as a fee for them assuming the risk for the entire bail amount.  That means, if you do not show up for Court, they could be liable for the entire bail amount. 

It is important to understand that you do not get the money you pay the bail bondsman back when your case is over. You can bail out before your first Court date or you can wait and have your lawyer try and get the Court to reduce your bail.  Often, depending on the charges, your lawyer may be able to get the Court to release you on your own recognizance.  That means you do not have to pay anything and still get released from jail.  By getting your bail reduced or eliminated can mean thousands of dollars saved and may be the difference between being able to hire a lawyer to represent you or not. But, you will have to sit in jail until your Court date.

Only you and your loved ones can determine if it is worth the wait to try and save that money.  Keep in mind, any days you sit in jail at the beginning of your case will count toward any custody you ultimately are ordered to do, or if you are not ordered to do any custody, those days in jail willmean your fine is reduced.

If you have a loved one currently in jail, please contact our office at (619) 258-8888 for a free consultation regarding their case.