When you or a loved one is arrested, the bail process can be confusing and overwhelming. There are a number of mistakes that you can make during this time that could come back to haunt you later on.
In this article, we will look at some of the most common mistakes and discuss how to avoid them. By understanding the bail process and taking precautions, you can minimize your chances of making one of these costly mistakes.
Bail Itself Can Be Intimidating
The bail process is not always simple or straightforward. For example, some new to the process can mistakenly think that “bail set at $1,000” means they will have to make a $1,000 payment they never get back. They don’t understand the benefits of having access to an experienced bond company.
To help clear up the process, let’s take a closer look at more of the common misconceptions.
Not Understanding the Bail Process
The bail process can be confusing, and if you don’t take the time to understand it fully, it can create a lot of stress around an already stressful situation.
For example, if you don’t understand the difference between a surety bond and a cash bond, you could end up paying more than you need to.
Additionally, not understanding the bail process can also lead to mistakes in posting bail. For instance, if you try to post bail without the help of a professional bail bondsman, you could end up overpaying or even making mistakes that result in your loved one staying in jail longer.
Posting the Wrong Amount
Bail is typically set at a specific amount, and if you post anything less than that, you could be in for some trouble. That said, few people have $1,000, $5,000, or $10,000 lying around. In those instances, it helps to go to a bond company, which can post the full amount in exchange for a small percentage upfront.
Failure to Appear
If you fail to understand when your court date is, that can lead to a failure to appear. Whether you miss by accident or on purpose, it can haunt the remainder of your case, influence judge and jury, and make it more difficult to secure bail for future arrests. Make sure you know the date and time of your court appearance and give yourself a 15-30-minute period to arrive early in the event of unforeseen obstacles.
Paying With a Personal Check
Believe it or not, some folks still pay by check. If that’s all you show up to pay with at some bond companies, you might be out of luck. Call ahead to make sure the company takes the form of payment that you’re offering.
Signing Paperwork Without Reading It
Always read any paperwork before signing it, as you could be agreeing to something you’re not comfortable with. Understand the full ramifications of what will happen in the event of a no-show. Also, make sure you understand any collateral that is being put up for the bond. In some cases, people have put up their home or car only to find out later they were responsible for paying fees and repairs on their property.
Hiring an Inexperienced Bail Bondsman
When hiring a bail bondsman, it’s important to work with someone who is experienced and reputable. An inexperienced bondsman could make mistakes that result in your loved one staying in jail longer or not getting released at all. Do your research ahead of time so you know you’re working with a professional. Ask the court for an approved list in good standing. (Just in case you’re wondering, Delta Bail Bonds is on those lists in both Collin and Dallas counties.)
Using Your Home As Collateral
Putting up your home as collateral for bail is a big risk. If you can’t make your payments, you could lose your home. And doing it on behalf of an arrestee could put you at a higher risk when you consider the relatively high FTA rate nationally. Think carefully before choosing this path.
Trying to Skip Out
Law enforcement record-keeping has come a very long way in the last 25 years. Agencies communicate very well with one another thanks to systems like NCIC and the continued proliferation of technology. You will get caught eventually, and when you do, that can jeopardize any future chance at receiving bail or ensure that bail is set at a much higher amount.
Trusting the Wrong People
From the arrestee standpoint, maybe this means you trust the wrong company with your needs. From the standpoint of a loved one helping an arrestee, the same rings true. And there’s also the issue of the arrestee. Are you sure you can trust them to keep their court dates? Even close family might end up skipping out if they’re under the influence or more afraid of the consequences for themselves than for you.
Avoid These Bail Mistakes No Matter What Role You Play
If you avoid these mistakes, the bail process should go smoothly and you shouldn’t have any problems. However, if you do make mistakes, be prepared to face the consequences.Bail is a serious matter and should not be entrusted to just any bail bond company. That’s why courts set a high bar for recommendations. Delta Bail Bonds has maintained a sterling reputation in the justice system for many years, helping arrestees and their family members navigate the challenges. Contact us today if you need help right away.