When a friend calls and needs help, most people try to do everything possible to lend a hand. Sometimes, the friend needs you to bail them out of jail. While it's great that you want to help, you should understand what you are getting yourself into when it comes to bailing someone out of jail. Read on to learn more.

A Financial Obligation

In most cases, bail has to be paid using the services of a bail bonding agency. These agencies usually operate near jails and work in tandem with the court system to bring about the release of those behind bars. Bail bonds cost quite a bit less than the full bail amount—usually, it's a certain percentage of the full bail. Once you have paid the bondsmen, your friend will be released. The fee you pay the bonding agent is non-refundable and may need to be supplemented by additional property, like a home, cash, or a car (like collateral).

Not Just About the Money

When you bail out your friend, you are also taking on a responsibility. If your friend skips bail or fails to show up for later court dates, you could be responsible for paying the bonding company the full bail amount. Additionally, if property was pledged along with the bail fee, that property could now be in jeopardy of being forfeited to the bonding company to help them cover their potential losses if they cannot recover the accused.

Withdrawing the Bond

Keeping close tabs on your bailed-out friend is vital. Some babysitting might be in order if your friend is the type to view things like court appearances too casually. Find out the dates they are to appear and offer to pick them up and go to court with them, if possible. If you begin to suspect that your friend has no intention of returning to face the judge or you have lost contact with them, take action fast.

Speak to the bail bonding agent about withdrawing the bond. That action will protect your financial assets from being lost due to a failure to appear and a revocation of the bond. Once the bond is withdrawn, however, a warrant will be issued for your friend's arrest and they will remain in jail until their court date. Be sure you understand the conditions of the bail agreement. If your friend commits another crime while on bail, for example, their bond could be forfeited and you will lose the asset you pledged.

To learn more about getting friends or anyone else released from jail using a bail bond, speak to a bail bond services representative today.