If you just got charged with a crime and you’ve been taken to jail, you might panic if you can’t afford bail. As most people who have watched true crime or jail shows that the entertainment industry has popularized in recent years might understand, making bail can make or break your case. This is because making bail means that you’ll be able to spend your time between your hearing and other court dates working on your case closely with a lawyer and meeting at your convenience.
You may also be able to resume regular activities in your life such as going to work, taking care of your children, and helping support your family in other ways if you have made bail as long as none of these activities would be forbidden by the court system during your process in the criminal justice system. This makes a huge difference only in the outcome of your case potentially. What’s more, it affects the ways and the extent to which your criminal charges affect your bond with your loved ones and your finances.
If you have criminal charges that have been filed against you by law enforcement, they can lead to hefty fines and restitution down the road that you’ll be expected to pay back if you’re found guilty of the crime and sentenced. As a result, you’ll want to be able to work as much as you can to not only fight the charges but build your savings if your charges lead to fines, restitution, and other costs. You’ll also have to pay for a lawyer, so you won’t want to miss out on the opportunity to earn money to afford the best lawyer you can given the circumstances. A better attorney can lead to a more favorable outcome at the end of the criminal justice process.
Contact a Bail Bondsman
When you can’t afford bail and you need to figure out a way to afford it quickly after getting involved in criminal activity or otherwise getting charged with criminal charges, you should get in touch with a bail bondsman as soon as you can. If being in jail makes it hard to contact a bail bondsman, you can get a loved one or friend to do the work of contacting one for you. No matter who talks to a bail bondsman about your case, time is of the essence. The sooner you can speak with a bail bondsman, the sooner you may be able to get a bail bond that will let you get out of jail so you can start working with an attorney diligently to build a case to prove your innocence if you’re innocent or serve other interests if you want to ask for leniency in a judgment in the future.
If you want to know what a bail bondsman even is, law.cornell.edu explains that “A bail bondsman is a person who provides bail bonds for people charged with crimes and who do not have the money necessary to post the entire bail with the court. The bail bondsman acts as a surety by providing money to the court for the person’s bail, promising the defendant will appear in court.” While some bail bondsmen may have different processes or procedures than others to secure a bail bond, some laws regulate what bail bondsmen can and cannot do.
There are also protections in place to ensure that every single type of crime is eligible for bond. Still, some crimes may not allow the person charged with the crime to get a bail bond in a certain way like through an online bail bond service. Therefore, you’ll want to work with your attorney and get clear on what you’ve been charged with specifically before you try to get a bond through an online bail bond provider.
Look Into Companies That Can Help
If you can’t afford bail, it may be more helpful to look into bail bondsman companies than trying to speak with a single bail bondsman who owns a small bail bond business. These companies are larger and therefore may have more options for working with you if you have a tough time qualifying for bail or if your loved ones don’t have good enough credit or enough savings to put down what they need to put down financially to make a bail bond happen. They may also have a larger pool of other bail bond services for which they may be able to provide referrals if they can’t help you secure a bail bond.
Before you try contacting a bail bondsman company, you should get your ducks in a row and get all of the necessary paperwork together to secure a bail bond. Before someone can bail you or a loved one out of jail, they’ll need to make sure that they have a valid proof of identity such as a passport, driver’s license, or state ID card. Before they head to the jail to bail you out, they should confirm acceptable types of ID with the staff at the jail facility. Once someone has confirmed that they have the right kind of proof of identification, they should get your legal filings together.
As joseespinozabailbonds.com shares, “Once an individual applies and the bail agent accepts, several legal documents need to be filed. First, there needs to be a document acknowledging that the bail agent is transferring bail money and putting up the bond in the company’s name. This document is known as an indemnity agreement and is necessary to hire a bail agent. The agreement stipulates the bond being granted, the individual’s name, and the case number of the bond. It also lists the premium paid on the bail bond and a note documenting the ascent of a translator if the individual does not speak English.” You’ll also need other paperwork like the collateral agreement that shows that the person who secured the bail bond has offered appropriate collateral.
Search for Speedy Assistance
As you know, when you can’t afford bail, it’s in your best interest to get help as fast as you can. Waiting around could mean that you’ll lose your window of opportunity to get bail and therefore be stuck in jail where you may have a harder time getting in touch with your team of attorneys. What’s more, you’ll be away from your loved ones and family bonds will suffer as a result. Thankfully, you do have some options that may get to you quicker than others if you’re in a pinch in jail. You can rely on quick bail bonds to get you the funds you need fast.
Try Online Bail Bonds
If you don’t have a bail bondsman close enough to your area and can’t afford bail, your loved ones could look into online bail bonds for you. If you need to find bail at an inconvenient hour such as during the middle of the night, an online bail bond company or single online bail bond agent might be your only option since their customer service lines will probably run 24 hours a day and 7 days a week. Before you exchange money or personal information with an online bail agent or online bail company, you’ll want to confirm that a licensed bail bondsman is on the other end of the interaction.
As you probably know, anyone can pretend to be anything in the online sphere. It’s all too easy for someone to prey on desperate individuals online and lure them into a scam that could cost thousands of dollars. Once a scammer has your card information or banking information, it’s too easy for them to take your money. Getting it back might not be easy if they have barriers in place to prove that the transaction was fraudulent, so you should do your research upfront and proceed with caution with an online bail bond option.
Contact an Attorney
Before you secure bail, you can hire a criminal defense lawyer. They’ll help you navigate the criminal justice system. They may also be able to provide resources for bail bonds if you can’t afford bail.
Sell Your Valuables
To afford bail, your family can head to a jewelry pawn shop. If they have valuable jewelry, this can go a long way in helping to afford bail. Even if it can’t cover the cost of the bail, it may work to cover a percentage of it for a bond.
Sell Recreational Vehicles
If you have a recreational vehicle like a golf cart, it’s time to put the golf cart for sale. This can help you afford bail. At the very least, it could cover the down payment for the bond.
Tap into a Settlement
If you had a settlement for a personal injury lawsuit, those funds could be used to pay when you can’t afford bail. While this is an unusual case, the funds from a settlement are fair game to use for a bail bond. Any money you have should go towards bail rather than other expenses since that will get you out of jail and back home or into the workforce.
Sell Your Guns
As long as it’s not interfering with the criminal investigation process, you may be able to sell your firearms if you can’t afford bail. Since firearms are valuable, they may make you enough for a down payment. You should consult with your attorney before making this decision, though. Otherwise, you could find yourself in deeper legal hot water.
Contact Other Lawyers
If you’ve exhausted the options for bail from your criminal defense lawyer when you can’t afford bail, try to find another attorney. You can look into one who practices contract law if you violated that. You can also speak with friends and family members who know attorneys to see if they have any leads.
Get the Help You Need
Once you get out of jail and make bail, it’s time to attend to your needs. If you were injured before the crime, schedule your appointments around court dates. From getting an appointment at a physical rehab center to caring for your mental health, you should take time to recover from the ordeal of being in jail.
While navigating the system and figuring out how you’ll pay bail can be stressful, there are many resources out there that are designed to make paying bail more affordable. You may think it’s wrong or unfair that you have to pay bail after you end up in the criminal justice system. After all, the hefty fees associated with bail and even the down payments on bail bonds can stretch even the most financially stable families. Still, if you consider the alternative, you may not feel like you have any other choice beyond sucking it up and paying bail or a bail bondsman so you can get out of jail and start putting your affairs to ensure a successful outcome for your case.
Thinking about the unfairness of it all or worrying about how much it costs won’t help you in the long run. It will only waste valuable time and energy that you need to devote to fighting your case if that is your goal or convincing a judge to take some mercy on you in the sentencing due to the extenuating circumstances surrounding your involvement in the criminal activity that lead to the charges in the first place. To help you come up with some ideas of how you might be able to afford bail when you think you can’t afford bail, we’ve compiled the list above of some of the ways that you may be able to make bail.
If none of these options work, it may help to explore other avenues or have your loved ones do research online if they have access to a computer and the internet while you’re in jail. There may also be local nonprofits in your area that help families who are affected by the criminal justice system to navigate things like bail. Additionally, some services may be able to help with providing emotional support through support groups, a shoulder to cry on, and some crucial information for your family if you can’t afford bail.