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How Much Will A Bail Bond Cost You Today?

The call to bail a loved one out of jail rarely comes at a convenient time. It's often done in a rush, sometimes even in the middle of the night, and without regard for your own finances. But how much money will this cost you? And how much will you need to bring when you actually obtain a bail bond? Here are a few of the most important things to know.

1. Bond Price Is Not Bail

The court sets bail. Bail is the amount that will be forfeited to the court if the bonded person fails to fulfill all their obligations. However, the bail amount is not what you need to bring to a bonding agency. 

The bonding agent guarantees to the court that they will pay the full amount if that becomes necessary. In return, they charge you (the contract signer) a nonrefundable fee. This may be 10%, for instance. So a $10,000 bond would include a $1,000 fee for the service. 

2. You Can Often Make Payments

Along with not needing to put together the entire bail amount, you may also be able to pay less today by using a payment plan. State regulatory agencies and bond companies recognize that many Americans simply don't have enough lying around to pay the bond fee for a large amount of bail. 

Under a payment plan, you can bring a down payment — perhaps 10% or 20% of the fee — when you sign the contract and make monthly installments until it's paid off. 

3. You May Pay Interest

Of course, the downside to using a payment plan is that you will likely pay interest on the credit extended. This may or may not be regulated by your state. 

If you need to use a payment plan, shop around for the best deal if this is feasible. Also, put down the largest down payment you can comfortably manage in order to reduce interest paid overall. 

4. Each State Has Its Rules

States oversee the bail bond industry according to their own laws. Some regulate it heavily, including determining how much can be charged and contract terms. Others only provide basic regulation. Take a few moments to research a little about your state's rules so you can protect yourself and find a reputable bonding company.

Where Should You Start?

Whatever your or your loved one's circumstances, start learning more about your payment options and the bonding process as soon as possible. Contact a local company that offers bail bonds services to learn more.