Should You Post Bail Yourself Or Use An Agency?
If you plan to post a surety for your release or the release of someone you care about, you will need to decide how to put up the bond. There are two common ways to give the court an assurance that someone will return for their hearings. First, you can use your money and assets to do it. Second, you can ask a bail bonds agent to handle the job. Here are the merits of each approach.
Posting Bond Yourself
The main argument for posting bail yourself is that you'll get the money back as long as the defendant attends all of the scheduled hearings. Generally, this works best when the required bond is already fairly low and the case should go quickly. If the case is likely to drag on, the risk of missing a hearing goes up. The court has the right to revoke bail, and that means the government keeps the money.
Notably, the outcome of the case doesn't affect the return of the bond money. Even if the defendant is convicted of a high felony, the bond question has nothing to do with that. As long as the defendant attends every hearing or makes arrangements to always have counsel present, the bond poster gets their money back.
Anyone posting bail for another person will want to think hard about how likely that person is to make all of their court dates. Even if they'd never jump bail, the reality is that the court system is complicated. One slip-up and the money can disappear into the government's coffers permanently.
Using a Bail Bondsman
There are several strong reasons to use a bail bondsman. Foremost, courts typically offer significantly discounted bail if you use a licensed bond agent. Judges like bail bond agents because the agencies have the authority to track down and return people who do jump bail. From the government's perspective, this saves money that it would otherwise need to pay cops to hunt down a person. Essentially, the bond agencies operate an auxiliary that does the job at no cost to the government.
You win if you can't afford to post the larger amount. The trade-off is that the bond company keeps whatever you pay. If you're particularly worried about posting a bond for a friend or family member who doesn't do well keeping appointments, though, this could be the cheaper option. Even if they are good at keeping dates, you can take a lot of risk off the table this way.
For more information, contact a bail bonds agent.