Many people who are arrested don't have the full sum of money that the court wants for bail, which works as a form of guarantee that you'll appear for your trial. That's where the bail bondsman comes in. In exchange for a 10%-15% nonrefundable fee, the bail bondsman will put up the rest of the guarantee to the court. Sometimes that fee and your promise are all that it takes to get a bondsman to accept you as a client—but what if you don't have enough for the fee? Don't panic. There are still several ways to secure your freedom.
Collateral is something of value that you can offer the bondsman to make up the balance of the bond should you fail to return for trial. It could take the form of small valuables (jewelry, coin collections, firearms) and sometimes it's something larger (vehicles, machinery). Keep in mind that bondman often won't take vehicles as collateral unless you own them outright.
If you are required to put up collateral, small property usually has to be surrendered immediately to the bondsman's keeping. You will be given a paperwork which will allow you or your representative to reclaim them after your trial. If the collateral is larger, you'll usually be allowed to keep it and use it while out on bail, but you'll have to turn the title to the machinery or vehicle over to the bondsman for the duration.
Real estate, in the form of land, houses, and other buildings, can also be offered as collateral but it may or may not be accepted. Bondsmen who accept it usually evaluate real estate on a case-by-case basis and its value may depend on a variety of factors, including the local real estate market. The bondsman may even be willing to accept the equity in a house that isn't fully paid off if the real estate market is strong.
He or she may require you to take the full amount of the bond out as a mortgage or second mortgage until the time of the trial. Alternately, he or she may put a lien on the property and have you sign paperwork that allows the property to be seized and sold if you don't return for trial.
Another, less commonly accepted form of equity that is sometimes accepted are brokerage accounts, IRAs, and stocks. For example, the CEO of a pharmaceutical company recently used his multi-million dollar stock account as collateral for a bond. Not all bondsman will do this, however, because of the risk that the value of these sorts of assets could suddenly fall.
Try Payment Plans
If you can't afford the bail bondsman's fee, but your bail is reasonably small, your bondsman may actually accept payments for the amount of the fee. Some bondsmen charge interest, while others do not. Keep in mind, however, that your payment plan commits you to that expense each month until the full amount is paid. If you fail to make a payment, the bondsman will likely revoke your guarantee and you'll go back to jail. Make sure that you can afford the amount that you agree on. You may also be able to put your payments on a credit card that the bondsman charges each month.
Find A Co-Signer
If none of these options work for you personally, you may be able to find a family member or friend to co-sign for a payment plan or put up property as collateral on your behalf. Depending on how high your bail is, you may need several people to commit their credit or property to the bondsman for you. Just like you, they'll get their property back or released from any mortgages or liens once the trial is completed.
Bail bondsmen like Ron's Bonds Co. are aware that many people simply don't have the money or valuables to secure the whole loan or even pay the entire bond fee upfront. Because of that, they're often quite willing to work with clients. Don't assume that you can't afford bail until you've discussed the issue with a bondsman in your area.Share