If you find yourself in a situation where a friend has been arrested and asks you for help, you may feel overwhelmed. Posting bail on behalf of another individual is a significant responsibility.
In order to ensure that you are able to protect both your friend and yourself, here are three questions you should ask yourself before posting your friend's bail.
1. Do I have anything to offer as collateral?
Depending on the crime your friend has been charged with, the amount of bail required to free your friend could be significant. If you don't have the financial resources required to pay the bail amount up-front, you may be able to work with a bail bondsman to access the funds needed to post your friend's bail.
Many bail bonds companies allow customers to use items of value as collateral in lieu of cash. Some common items used as collateral for bail include real estate, jewelry, or vehicles. If you have something of value to offer as collateral, you may find it easier to get your friend out of jail quickly.
2. Do I trust my friend?
When you agree to post bail on behalf of a friend who has been arrested, you are providing your own property as a guarantee that your friend will appear in front of a judge when he or she is scheduled in court. If your friend fails to show up for scheduled court appointments, you could lose the valuable item you have placed as collateral with a bail bonds company.
If you find that your bond enters default due to your friend's failure to appear, you have a statutory period of time (typically 90 days) to turn your friend in yourself and clear the default status. It's important that you know you can trust your friend not to skip town if you post bail on his or her behalf.
3. Does my friend have responsibilities that he or she needs to attend to?
When deciding whether or not you should post bail for a friend who has been arrested, it's important to consider any outside responsibilities your friend may have. If there is the possibility that your friend will lose his or her job if required to remain in custody until a court date is set, then bailing him or her out of jail could help ensure future success.
Although an arraignment typically takes place within 48 hours of an arrest, your friend might need his or her freedom prior to the arraignment hearing, and posting bail is often the only solution.
Before you decide to post bail for a friend, be sure that you ask yourself some important questions to mitigate your risk.
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