If your friend has been arrested, and they've asked you to help them arrange bail, there are some things you'll need to know. While you may want to rush out to help your friend get out of police custody, the terms of the bail bond can affect you directly. Before you arrange bail for your friend, here are some steps that will help you avoid problems:
Know the Requirements
When it comes to arranging bail, you'll need to understand the requirements. Depending on the bail amount, you may need to arrange for cash and collateral. In most cases, you'll be required to provide the bail bondsman with 10% of the total bail amount in cash. The remaining 90% will need to be provided in the form of collateral. The collateral you provide can be anything you own, including real or personal property. So, if you own your car, motorcycle, or home, you can place those up as collateral for your friend's bail. Be sure to talk to the bail bonds agent about other forms of collateral that may be allowed.
Wait Until the Bail Hearing
When your friend was arrested, an initial bail amount was set. However, once they're arraigned, the judge will set the formal bail amount. That amount could change, based on the charges your friend is facing. In fact, if your friend is facing minor charges, the bail could be eliminated altogether, which means they'll be released on their own recognizance – without bail. If that happens, you won't need to arrange for bail at all. If you can, try to wait until the official bail hearing, before arranging bail for your friend.
Protect Your Investment
Once your friend is out on bail, you'll need to protect your investment. This is particularly true if you posted a large cash deposit or substantial collateral. While out on bail, your friend will need to follow all the rules that the judge ordered as terms for their release. Some of the rules they'll be required to follow will include:
- Attending all their court hearings
- Remaining in the county or state where they were arrested
- Avoiding contact with victims
- Obeying all laws
If your friend breaks any of the rules, they could lose their right to bail. If that happens, their bail will be revoked, they'll be ordered back into police custody, and you'll lose the cash and collateral that you posted for their release on bail.