A bond is the amount of money or security that's needed to get someone out of jail; it is set by the court. Bond can be posted by the defendant in a case, or it can be posted by you, if you're 18 years old or older. You also have the option of posting the bond through a bail bondsman. However the bond is posted, you must first determine the amount of the bond. There are three methods of determining the bond amount so that you can make an informed decision on how to proceed.
Using a Bail Bondsman
Use the phonebook and locate a local bail bondsman in the community where the person you're looking to bail out is incarcerated.
Give the bail bondsman all of the details of the case, including the incarcerated individual’s name. The bail bondsman has the ability to access jail records and find out the amount of the bond. Understand, though, that in most counties, the bondsman can't get this information until the inmate has been processed into the jail’s system and the paperwork for the incarceration has been completed. (In some counties, the bail bondsman may be able to simply call the jail and find out the amount of the bond.). The bail bondsman will be able to advise you what his capabilities are when you call.
Ask the bail bondsman the amount of the cash bond, as well as the amount of the surety bond. A cash bond is the amount that you can pay in cash, without going through the bail bondsman, directly to the jail. A surety bond is the amount of the bond, plus the bail bondsman’s fees. You will need a surety bond if you do not have the cash on hand to pay the bond yourself directly to the jail.
Calling the Jail
Find out the county or city where the person has been incarcerated and call the jail that serves that area. Most jails will be listed in the phonebook in the "Government" section.
Inform the individual who answers the phone that you would like to post bond for an inmate and need to know what the bond amount is. You'll need the incarcerated person’s complete name so that jail officials can look up the information for you.
Once you have the bond amount, ask where you can go to pay it and if there are any other instructions that you need to follow to post a bond. Note that in some cases, a bond cannot be posted, such as when a person is arrested for failure to appear in court in an ongoing criminal case.
Use the Internet
Use the search bar in your Internet browser and type in the search term "jail records" or "judicial records," then the name of the county where the incarceration took place. Not all counties provide online access to jail records or incarceration information. Some counties, however, do provide extensive jail-record information that will give you all of the details of the cases in their jurisdiction.
Search jail records by the defendant's name. Note that if the individual was recently arrested, there will most likely not be any information posted online about the case until after the person has been processed into the jail system.
Click on the case number for the current case—the bond amount will be listed in the case details.