People make mistakes. And getting arrested can be a difficult and confusing process and you will have decisions to make, such as posting bail or obtaining a bond if the judge sets bail for you. If your crime is minor and you are not a flight risk, the judge may let you go on your own recognizance which means the court trusts that you will show up for your court date. This is rare, however. It is more likely that the judge will set a bail amount for you, an amount of money that you pay to ensure that you will show for your court date or else forfeit the money to the court. If the amount set is too much for you to pay, you can make an arrangement with a bail bondsman and pay them a fee, usually 10% of the bail amount, and they will make an agreement with the court that you will be present at your court appearance or forfeit the rest of the bail amount. Doing so allows you to initially put up a much more affordable amount.
But what if you have the money to pay the bail directly? Should you?
It may seem like a better idea to pay the cash if you have it, after all, you would be avoiding the 10% fee but there are many reasons why you should use a bondsman.
1. Paying the cash bail increases the chance that the court will use it to pay court appointed fees rather than take it in installments later which might be preferable to you.
2. You may not be able to get a court appointed lawyer. The court appoints a lawyer on behalf of only those who can’t afford it.
3. Even a mistake can result in forfeiture. Showing up at the wrong court (which is common because cases often switch departments) or simply using the restroom while your name is called could mean you forfeit the cash.
4. It keeps your cash on hand. If you are hiring your own lawyer, it may be helpful to have a cash flow, and if you are potentially facing jail time that could cause you to lose your job, you may need the cash for your family.
At Mercy Bail Bonds, we know you’re facing difficult decisions and we’d be happy to answer any questions you may have about the bail process. We’re open 24 hours a day to help you.