HOW TO DEAL WITH A BOND ISSUE
SITUATION: You friend or loved one has just been arrested. They are in custody (jail), and being held with a bail set at many thousands of dollars.
QUESTION: What should you do to help them?
ANSWER: Call, but do not immediately hire a lawyer. A good, caring attorney will walk you through the process, recommend an appropriate response and if wise, connect you with a bondsman who will treat you with honesty and respect.
Do I hire a lawyer or bail out my friend /loved one?
SITUATION: You have received a panicked call. Your friend or loved one is scared and wants out. You only have money to either engage a lawyer or post bail.
QUESTION: What do you do?
ANSWER: It depends on several factors- Assuming bail is available and you have the funds and security/collateral to post a bond, the right choice is still not easy to arrive at. Of course you want to get them out of jail as soon as possible, but if that means opting for the public defender, it might be better to use those funds to hire an attorney. On the other hand, if you don’t bail them out, court will be in a matter of days instead of giving you several weeks to raise funds and arrive at a decision of who is the best lawyer is which will be the case if you post bond.
This can be complicated. We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to help you come to the right decision. Call now for a free consultation 213.514.8324
CHOOSING THE RIGHT BONDSMAN or COMPANY
SITUATION: So you have determined that posting bail is the right choice, now you need to choose who will help-
QUESTION: What are the factors to consider?
ANSWER: Cost. Convenience. Trust and Respect. With regard to cost, most bondsmen will charge you exactly the same fee which is generally 10% of the total bond set by the police or the court. This is a rate set by their insurer and regulated regularly. If they offer you a better rate, you are not at risk of getting in trouble, but they might be. If you are already working with an attorney, and the attorney sends you to the bondsman, they are permitted by their insurer to reduce the fee by 20%. This is a pretty good improvement. Additionally, some Bail Bonds Companies will set you up on a payment plan, but their discount may not be as great if you need a payment plan.
With regard to convenience, many bond companies have offices directly across the street from courthouses and jails. It doesn’t get much more convenient than that, however any bond company you contact by phone that operates in the same area will be able to post your bond and secure your loved one’s release as quickly as the place by the courthouse. This is their job.
Trust and Respect are perhaps the only real variables in the bond game. In our office we have crossed many bondsmen off our list over the years because we get reports from our clients that they weren’t treated well or they felt taken advantage of. Obviously, when we recommend a bondsman, it is critical that they treat our clients with the same respect as we do and that they never breach their trust. Being referred to a bondsman that your lawyer feels comfortable with can help you feel more confident in your decision of whose deserves your hard earned money.
HOW BAIL WORKS
The police and courts require bail for one of two reasons:
- To make sure the accused is not a flight risk and will return to court on the date assigned so as not to forfeit the bail.
- To protect the community if they are judged to be a danger.
Bail is set at a particular amount. A typical felony bail in Los Angeles falls between $35,000 and $50,000. This scares a lot of people, so here are your choices for posting bail:
- Post the full amount in cash, and then, when the case completes, you will get 100% back.
- Use a bondsman who will charge you a fee of 10% of the full bond in order to secure 100% to the courts. For example, on a $50,000 bond, you would pay the bondsman $5,000 and they guarantee the full $50,000 to the court in exchange for your fee.
How quickly can someone get bailed out?
As soon as the person in custody is booked (photo and prints), and run through a National Crime Database to check for warrants elsewhere in the United States, they are available to get bailed out. This can take anywhere from a few minutes to a few days. Normally it is between two and five hours. The bondsmen we recommend at The Law Offices of Daniel R. Perlman hustle for our clients and get them out as soon as possible.
What if they aren’t a U.S. citizen?
The system has plenty of cracks in it. Frequently, a non-citizen or “illegal” can be bailed out before an INS, ICE or USCIS hold or flag occurs in the LA County Jail system. If they are “flagged” they will be held pending the outcome of their case for transfer to immigration custody and removal proceedings. Bail will not be available at this time.
If the person in custody has a prior criminal record, time is critical and a bondsman should be contacted ASAP.
If the person in custody has no criminal record, it is less likely that they will be flagged right away.
What things might keep bail from working?
Sometimes there is a delay in booking. This can be due to and of the following:
- a busy jail
- a shortage of jailers
- a national slowdown on the warrant checks
- a probation or parole hold
- an immigration hold
- human or computer error
Can I get a discount by going through an attorney?
Yes, all bondsmen are given the flexibility to reduce their fee by 20% if the person they are bailing out has retained private counsel. This is a reflection of how unlikely it is that a person who has retained legal representation will run.
At the Law Offices of Daniel R. Perlman, we pride ourselves in giving good guidance on issues surrounding bail, and frequently, when getting your loved one out is the priority, we end up not being retained because the money goes to the bondsman. Ultimately, we want what’s best for you and your friends or loved ones. Many attorneys will try to get retained without considering what is best for you. This is virtually 100% true when it comes to Bail Bond Companies and their employees. Give us a call if you need help making up your mind. Remember, we’re available now to help guide you in this very important decision making process.
Call now for a free consultation 213.514.8324