Unless a person suspected of committing a crime is released on her own recognizance, she might need to post bail to get out of jail. This process often starts with a call from the jail to a friend or relative who must then determine the type and amount of bond required to obtain a release.
Types of Bond
If you get this kind of call, you need to know the amount of bail and the type of bail, which determines how it's paid. Bail is set in one of two ways: a cash bond and a surety bond.
When bail is set as a cash bond, the entire amount of the bail must be paid to ensure that the accused appears for all scheduled court hearings. If the defendant fails to appear, the entire bond amount may be forfeited. A surety bond can be deposited by a licensed bonding company, which usually charges the accused 10 percent of the bail amount. The bonding company may post liens against the accused's assets as a condition of posting bail.
Contact the Arresting Police Department
If the accused has called from the police department, ask whether bond can be paid at that location. Most police stations have bail schedules that can be consulted to determine the type and amount of the required bond. Generally speaking, paying bail at a local police station is possible when the accused has not been transferred to the county jail, there is not a probation violation and the arrest is not for a felony offense.
Call the County Jail
If the accused has been transferred to a county facility, call that facility and ask for the booking officer to determine the type and amount of bond. In some states you can call the county courthouse or check the correctional facility's website for bail information. For misdemeanors without additional infractions, cash and surety bonds can usually be paid at the jail. The arrested person can then be released to you as the person who posted bail.
Contact a Bail Bondsman
Getting a call in the middle of the night for bail can be unsettling. Under these circumstances, consider calling a bail bond company to determine the details of the arrest and the amount of bail. If you know the charges related to the arrest , a bail bond company may be able to give you a ballpark figure for bail before contacting the police department that made the arrest.