Paying a bail bondsman can be an effective way to get yourself or a loved one out of jail when you can’t afford the full bail amount. Generally, a bail bonds company requires 10 percent of the amount of bail set by the courts. For example, if the court set the bail at $10,000, the amount you owe to the bondsman is $1,000, which is known as the premium.
But what can you do if you cannot afford to cover the fee? This is a question for the bail bond company you’ve chosen to work with.
Bail Bond Payment Options
Cash or credit cards are the usual form of payment but if you have limited or no money, some bail bond agencies may allow you to make payment arrangements to secure your release from jail. In addition, although not usually required, the bail bondsman may require collateral to secure the bond in the event there is loss of the bond due to a defendant’s failure to appear in court. This is something you will need to ask about upfront before assuming the agent will readily agree to a payment plan.
Installment Plan Eligibility Requirements
The more money you are able to pay towards the ten percent fee, the more likely a payment arrangement can be made for the balance owed. Just like when you apply for credit, the bail bond company must consider the same factors when making their decision to allow a payment plan:
- Ability to make payments
- Credit score
- Duration of residency
- Employment history
- Arrest history & severity of the charges pending
Will I Have To Pay Interest?
Absolutely Not. Pursuant to the Department of Insurance, the regulating agency that oversees how a bail bond business operates, a bail agency is only allowed to accept the 10% premium as payment of the bail bond. Even if there is a payment plan agreement, no additional fees may be assessed on bail. When making bail bond payment arrangements, be honest about how much you can truly afford to pay per month and make sure you understand the terms you are agreeing to.
Co-Signing a Bail Bond Payment Plan
A bail bond company may ultimately decide that a cosigner is needed to secure your payment arrangement. This may be because of the amount of the premium, the nominal amount of the down payment and/or the signors risk of defaulting on the payments. To be approved, a co-signer must demonstrate financial responsibility including being able to pay in the event that you fail to make payments.
What Happens If You Don’t Pay Your Bond?
In short, failure to make payments or attend all scheduled court appearances is considered a breach of contract with both the bondsman and the court. At this point, you could be rearrested or charged with a civil violation. Depending on the terms that you agreed to, your bondsman may turn you over to the authorities. If you find yourself in this situation for legitimate reasons, it is always in your best interest to contact the bail bond company immediately.
Bail Bond Financing Responsibilities
If you or someone you know has been arrested, there are options to get them out of jail on bond. A reputable bail bonds company will discuss these options and help you find a financing solution that works for you.
Whether you pay your fee upfront or need financing, it’s important to understand the responsibilities and consequences attached to a bail bond. Anytime you request a bond, you are entering a contractual obligation with the bondsman. Failure to comply or pay the debt can result in your arrest, creating more legal expenses and issues. If the person you’ve co-signed for violates their release agreement, you will be held personally responsible to repay the money owed to the bail bonds agent.