The Most Important Questions To Ask A Bondsman
“If you find that you need a bondsman for you or your loved one, making sure that you are asking the bonds company the right questions can save you stress, time, and money.”
Before Your Pay
Utilizing the services of a bail bonds company is not something that anyone looks forward to, and more often than not the circumstances come by surprise. If you find that you need a bondsman for you or your loved one, making sure that you are asking the bonds company the right questions can save you stress, time, and money. To aid in this process, we have put together the top seven questions to ask a bondsman or bond company before using their services.
1.) What Are Your Rates?
Asking this question upfront does more than let you know how much you will be spending to get yourself or your loved one out of jail, it allows you to find out if the bonds company is operating an ethical and legal business. Bonds rates (bond premiums) are mandated by the state that the company operates in, so any business or bondsman that charges more than the legal amount is operating on the wrong side of the law, which is not what you need in a situation like this. Nationwide you can expect the bond premium to fall between 8%-15% of the bond amount, with some states mandating a fixed rate. In Colorado, the bond premium is capped at 15% of the bond amount, with room for the bond company to accept a lower premium at their discretion. If you are searching for a bondsman in the state of Colorado, any person or company charging over 15% is an immediate red flag.
2.) How Long Does It Take To Be Released After Posting A Bond?
Ensuring that you ask your bond company how long it will take to get yourself or your loved one released from the facility after posting your bond can help mitigate stress and set a good expectation for the general timeline. It is important to note that different jails have different timelines for release, and your bond company only controls their portion of the paperwork, so after they do their job the process is out of their hands. With that said, the bond process is slow, unpredictable, and is largely dependent on how busy the jail is when the bond is posted. You should expect the process to take anywhere from 2-10 hours, and your bond company will have a good idea of how long each jail in their area takes to complete the process.
3.) What Is The Process For Posting A Bond?
Like the first question, asking this question will give you a good idea of how professional and established the bail bond company of your choice is. Whoever you work with should be able to give you a top to bottom explanation of the bond process while answering any questions that you may have along the way. The general process goes as follows:
- Collect general information about the person who needs the bond posted to assess the type of bond needed and the risk in posting.
- If the person is eligible, you will start the process of filling out the proper paperwork needed to post the bond.
- After the bond application, indemnity agreement, bond receipt, and any other applicable paperwork for the bond is filled out, you will arrange payment.
- Your bondsman or bond company will then head down to the local jail to post the bond.
- Yourself or your loved one is released.
- *It is important to note that your bondsman or bond company may require supervision or stipulations for the defendant to follow if they post the bond. This can include checking-in, no drug use, no alcohol use, and more.*
4.) Is Your Company Licensed?
Ensuring that the bond company or bondsman that you use has an up to date and active license can protect against fraud. A simple inquiry can save you a lot of time, and any reputable company or bondsman will have no issues sharing this information with you, so do not hesitate to ask.
5.) Where Are You Located?
Finding out where the bond company is located can be a deciding factor when it comes to utilizing their services due to pricing and paperwork. Working with someone in the same town or a nearby town is a sure way to cut down on bad service and more headaches.
6.) What Is The Indemnitor's Responsibility?
The Indemnitor inherits the risk when posting a bond, so you must talk with your bonds company about what this risk looks like if things go wrong. Remember, the defendant simply not showing up to court is all that it takes to send things down the wrong path, and if you post the bond and cannot locate them when they miss court, you will be stick with the bail amount. Most bondsmen have steps to reconcile this, so ask this question upfront.
7.) What Happens If The Defendant Misses Court?
Asking this question will give you an idea of what things will look like if the person that you are posting bond for misses court. It is important to discuss this with your bondsman because people do not always miss court due to running on bail. Things happen such as forgetting court dates, car crashes, or any other general emergency. A reputable bond company will have steps to handle this process assuming the defendant is working in good faith and is not trying to run away. Speaking with your bondsman about this before posting bail will allow you peace of mind, and instruction in the face of the unexpected.
Asking your bondsman or bond company these seven questions will give you a great idea of the professionalism and overall competency of who you choose to work with. Posting bail is stressful, and we hope this information helps take away some of that stress if you find yourself in a position where you need a bondsman.