It happens to many of us. Someone we love has been arrested and taken to jail. This is a difficult and confusing time, but we can help make the process go smoothly and perhaps get your friend or loved one back with you in a matter of hours.
First of all, don’t panic. Most people who are arrested receive bail or are released on their own recognizance, unless the crime is particularly serious or the defendant is a flight risk. When someone is arrested on suspicion of a crime, law enforcement will take him jail for booking. He is booked, his mug shot is taken, he is fingerprinted, he’ll give a statement and then he will be held in jail or released on bail.
Bail is a financial arrangement that you will make with a bail bondsman who will act on behalf of the defendant to work with the court to have him released from jail until trial in exchange for money or collateral (cash, assets or a bond). It is the court that sets the bail amount. If you do not have enough cash to cover the full amount of the set bail with the court, a bail bonding agency will put up the fee for the release and usually charges about 10% of the amount of the bail. This fee is non-refundable, even if the case is dismissed. To cover the cost of the bail, the bondsman takes out a security against the defendant’s assets (estate or cash) and if there aren’t enough assets, they can take out securities against the assets of friends or family who are willing to take that risk.
You can begin the process once your friend or loved one has been arrested. If possible, get some information from the jail. You will need to know the specific jail where your loved one is located, as well as the booking number of the person in jail and if you have it, the amount of the bail, and then call the bondsman. Once the arrangement has been agreed upon, the bail agency pays the bond to the court, and usually within a few hours, the defendant will be released from jail.
At this point, the bail agency is responsible for making sure the defendant appears at his trial. If the day of the trial comes and he doesn’t show up, the bail bondsman must make sure the defendant is re-arrested, and they may do this by hiring a surety agent paid for by you or whomever put up the money or collateral) to locate the fugitive. If the bondsman cannot produce the defendant, he must forfeit the full bond to the court and he can then sell the collateral that you put up for the bond to recover his loss. In many states there is a grace period in which the defendant can make things right, but it’s completely up to the discretion of the court and they will probably take into account the defendant’s criminal record. There will be a bench warrant put out for his arrest for failure to show for court.
People make mistakes. And we at Mercy Bail Bonds know how confusing and difficult it can be when someone you care about has been arrested, but we can help the process go easily and quickly. We service the Florida counties of Pasco, Hernando, Hillsborough and Pinellas and we’re open 24 hours a day. Mercy Bail Bonds is here when you need us!