A bond is the amount of money or security that's needed to get someone out of jail; it is set by the court. The easiest way to find the bond amount is to ask the inmate himself, or his lawyer or public defender. If this is not possible, you could look online, call the jail or consult a bail bondsman. Posting bail means that you may lose the bail money or be held responsible for the court costs, bondsman fees and sheriff’s fees if the person you are posting the bond for does not show up for court.
Ask the Inmate
If bail has been set, the inmate likely will have appeared in court with a lawyer or public defender. The inmate should therefore know the jail bond amount. If you are not able to speak with the inmate directly, call her lawyer or public defender for this information.
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. If the county provides online access to jail records or incarceration information, you should be able to search those records by the defendant's name – the bond amount will be listed in the case details. 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.
Call the Jail
Find out the county or city where the person has been incarcerated and call the jail that serves that area. You can usually find the telephone number on the county or city's website. 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. Ask where you can go to pay the bond and if there are any other instructions that you need to follow. 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 a Bail Bondsman
Use the internet 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. 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.
Read More: What Is a Split Bail Bond?
- Posting a surety bond through a bail bondsman in your name means that you may be held responsible for the court costs, bondsman fees and sheriff’s fees if the person you are posting the bond for does not show up for court.
- Posting a cash bond does not necessarily mean that you'll be refunded the cash amount when the case concludes. You should check with the office where you post the bond prior to paying the bail fees regarding its policies.
Patrice Lesco has been a writer since 2001. Also a certified teacher, she writes for newspapers, magazines, books, theater and film. Lesco holds a Master of Fine Arts in theater from Michigan State University, as well as a Bachelor of Science in education and theater from Methodist College.