If your spouse is in jail for a fairly minor offense, you probably want to get him or her out as quickly as possible. One way to do that is to pay bail so your spouse can get out without having to wait for a hearing before a judge. Paying bail can be confusing and worrisome because you don't want to lose money or your home. Laws vary by state, but here are a few general things you may want to know.
Bail Amounts Are Often Preset
Common offenses usually have a preset bail amount attached to them. That's why you can go to the jail and bail out your spouse before there is a court date. More serious crimes or complicated situations may require a visit to the judge to determine the bail amount. A judge can set the amount of bail by lowering it or raising it from the preset amount. The judge may even waive the bail payment.
However, if your spouse is released on his or her own recognizance and then does not show up for court, the full amount of bail may come due. Therefore, when you discover your spouse is in jail, you'll want to find out if there is a preset amount you can pay to get him or her out immediately. If your spouse doesn't know, you can call the jail and find out.
A Bail Bond Service Can Help
If you're short on cash, you may not have the money to pay for bail. You may not be able to physically go to the jail, especially if your spouse was arrested in another city. In those cases, a bail bond service can handle bailing out your spouse. However, you have to pay the service a set amount, which is often ten percent of the bail. The bond service then pays the bail so your spouse can be released. You don't get the money you pay to the bond service back even if your spouse shows up for court.
If your spouse doesn't go to court when ordered to do so, you'll have to pay the whole amount of bail. The bail bond service can legally take your assets to cover the full cost as well as their fees. While you want to get your spouse out of jail quickly, you must also assess the risk of losing your home or money against whether you think your spouse will go to court as ordered.
Bail Bonds Can Often Be Handled Remotely
If your spouse is in a jail in another state that can be cause for alarm since you are so far away. You might be able to go through with the bail bond process remotely. Find a bond service in the city where your spouse is in jail. Call them and provide all the details about your spouse's arrest and where they are in jail. You can make the payment over the phone and fill out the legal documents online or through email.
You may need to answer questions first to make sure you qualify. For instance, if the bail is set at $10,000 the bond company wants to make sure you have $1000 cash to pay their fee as well as $10,000 cash or equity in a home or car to cover the bail if your spouse doesn't show up for court.
Finding out your spouse is in jail and worrying about bail is stressful. Just remember, a bail bond service, like ASAP Bail Bonds, has handled situations like yours many times and they will guide you through the process so you can get your spouse home as soon as possible.