The bail bondsman, while surely a nice enough person, is someone you'd rather not have to meet in life. Mistakes happen, however, and you or a loved one may need the assistance of a bail bonds company to get out of jail. During this stressful time, knowing what a bail bondsman is and how they work can be helpful.

Can You Be Released From Jail on Your Own Recognizance?

While you could be released on your recognizance, it is not common and is entirely up to the judge at your bond hearing or arraignment. It is more likely to happen if you are a first-time offender, charged with a minor crime, an upstanding member of the community, and not a flight risk. Most likely, the judge will set a bail amount. 

What Do I Do If I Can't Bail a Loved One Out of Jail?

Bail is an unwelcome expense for anyone but for the 28 percent of Americans that do not have any emergency savings, it can be an impossibility. Thankfully, a bail bonds company can help with the expense of getting a loved one out of jail. 

What Does a Bail Bondsman Do?

A bail bondsman collects 10 percent of the bail from you and puts up the rest with the authorities in the form of a surety bond. In other words, if bail is set at $10,000, you would pay the bail bondsman 10 percent, or $1,000, and they would handle the rest.

Why Do You Only Have to Pay 10 Percent of Bail?

Judges set the bail amount as they see fit, based on the crime and the offender's history with the legal system. Unfortunately, the average person simply does not have the full amount. Bail bonds companies fill a need in the legal system. By collecting just 10 percent, they help your loved one get out of jail. By pledging the other 90 percent, they satisfy the needs of the court.

Can You Bail Yourself Out of Jail With a Credit Card?

While it is feasible to use a credit card to bail yourself out of jail, there are many things to consider. First and foremost, your local jail may not have the means to process a credit card payment. Also, depending on the TOS (Terms of Service) of your credit card issuer, it may be against policy to use funds in that manner.

While no one wants to meet the bail bondsman, they are there to help in your time of need and fill a need in the community.