Getting that frantic call from jail is hard, when someone you care about has been arrested and asks you to post bail. The Bail Bonds industry is controversial in some states. If your state allows the use of bail bondsmen, posting bail means you give a percentage of the total bond amount to the bonding company, and that company promises the court to pay the rest if the accused doesn’t show up in court.
For example, the bond is $10,000 and you put up 10 percent plus fees, for a total of $1,189. If the person arrested is a no-show in court, the bonding company is on the hook for almost $9,000. While you won’t get arrested if the person you bail out goes on the run, the bonding company will go looking for the suspect so they can collect their bond money that they guaranteed to the court. Needless to say, bail bond companies do not take kindly to bailing someone out, only to have that person ignore their scheduled court appearance.
In most cases, since you are the person who signed on the bond, you will not be taken to jail, but it will be assumed that you have regular contact with the person who was arrested, and you will start hearing regularly from bounty hunters. Bounty hunters are people paid to chase down bail jumpers and bring them to jail so the bail bond company doesn’t lose their money. They might come to your house frequently, call you at work, follow you to see if you meet up with your arrested friend, and various other strategies in their attempt to locate the missing client. You have the right to tell them not to contact you, but it doesn’t mean they will just go away forever.
The bond company can ultimately come after you for their $9,000. If you put your house or car up for collateral, it is then at risk. Every state has a time limit for the bond company to locate its missing client and bring him or her to jail. If they are not successful by the end of that time frame, they will have to pay the $9,000, which they will then come after you for. Any collateral can be seized or forced into a sale to meet the obligation. If you didn’t put assets up, they can sue you in civil court for the money.
Most people with legal troubles make their court dates and go through the judicial process, but sometimes a defendant will decide to ignore the courts and will go on the run. People who get bonded out know what will happen if they run, and they usually don’t want to put their friends or family in such a bad position.
Be sure if you decide to post bail that it is for someone who you truly care about and that person cares enough about you to appear at all of their court dates.