Having a family member, friend, or loved one arrested and facing incarceration is a stressful and scary situation. It’s important to understand what comes next and what you can do to get them out of jail as soon as possible.
Immediately after a person has been arrested, they’ll be taken to a police station or county jail for booking. There they will be processed and scheduled to appear before a judge. The judge is responsible for determining their conditions for release. For someone accused of a minor offense with no criminal history it’s fairly common to be released without bail, something called personal recognizance. However, for more serious offenses or when dealing with people with past criminal history, the judge is likely to set bail.
Bail is essentially a cash deposit that is held by the court, and helps the court feel confident that the accused will appear for their scheduled court dates. Depending on the severity of the accused crime and past criminal history, bail can be anywhere from a few hundred dollars to over one million.
If the accused is capable of posting the full bail amount to the court, they are free to bail themselves out of jail. However, many people don’t have the means to afford posting the full amount of their bail, which can be thousands or tens of thousands of dollars. This is where bail bond agencies come in. Bail agencies give the court the full bail amount on your behalf in exchange for a percentage fee – in Washington State the industry standard is 10% – making it possible to get someone out of jail without having to post the full bail amount.
Let’s say a friend is arrested and their bail is set at $5,000. They have three options:
- Come up with $5,000 cash, which is then given to the court and held until the conclusion of the case;
- Remain in jail until the conclusion of the case; or
- Pay 10% of the bail amount to a bail bonds agency ($500), and get out of jail
Why Use An Agency?
For many people, using a bail bond agency is the fastest and most convenient way to get someone out of jail. Bail bond agencies handle all of the paperwork, deal with the court, and know how to get someone out of jail in a matter of hours.
If someone you know is facing jail time, give us a call. We’re a family-owned bail bond agency that’s been around since 1989. We’re open 24 hours, seven days a week, 365 days a year – we never close. We offer complete, end to end handling of your bail situation, whatever it may be, and will give you the confidence and privacy you expect in this type of situation.