The Best Way To Approach A Bail Bond? Treat It As A Loan, Because It Is One

Getting a bail bond can be a frantic, anxiety-fueled process because all you want to do is get your family member or friend out of jail. It can lead to some snap decisions where you may not fully understand what you're getting into. Or, you may understand, but you don't really grasp what could happen. If you find yourself in this situation, approach bail bonds as if they were big loans, because they are. When you think of a bail bond as a loan that you'll have to pay back if the defendant skips bail, what you have to do suddenly becomes a lot clearer.

Bail Bonds Function Almost Like Basic Home Loans

When you get a home loan, you put down a certain percentage of the home price and get a loan for the rest. A bail bond, at least at first, functions in a similar way; you put down a certain percentage as a sort of down payment on a loan for bail. There are obvious differences, such as home loans leading to monthly mortgage payments and bail bonds allowing non-cash items as collateral. But that's the basic concept behind these bonds. You're putting a down payment on a bigger loan. If the defendant skips bail, then you have to pay the whole bail amount, or the rest of the loan.

The Loan Is Canceled if the Defendant Shows Up

If the defendant shows up to court when they're expected to, then you are not responsible for the rest of the bail amount. In other words, it's canceled as far as you're concerned. You don't get your down payment back as that forms the bail bond agent's fee. If you used non-cash collateral, you either get it back then or you get it back after the defendant has paid the bail agent a pre-arranged amount. That's the best possible situation. However, if the defendant skips bail, you're faced with losing your collateral or paying the entire bail amount, which can be anywhere from thousands to hundreds of thousands, and occasionally millions, of dollars.

As With Any Loan, Read Everything

When your family member or friend is in jail, it's understandable that you'd want to do everything you could to get them out of there. But read all the fine print and make sure you understand the entire process, including what to do if you find yourself responsible for a bail amount you simply can't afford to pay. You have to protect yourself if there is any indication that the friend or family member may attempt to run.

Reach out to a bail bond agent to learn more.