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What To Expect When You Get A Call From Jail

by Alfred Parker

If your kids are still little, consider yourself lucky that they're not old enough to get into serious trouble. If they're older and one of them has broken the law, or if you have other family members or friends who have been arrested, you will probably receive the dreaded phone call asking you for help. Of course, you have a decision to make. You can leave the individual in jail to ponder what he or she has done and to face the consequences, or you can plan to pay the bail and be a hero.

Your Part Of The Bail Process - Don't expect this to be a quick process, as it could take hours.

  • First you have to find a bail bond company. That won't be a problem as there are usually many of them in the same vicinity as the jail. In addition, they're open twenty-four hours a day every day of the year, so you can begin the process immediately.
  • Don't be shocked at the amount of the bail. Instead of paying that amount the bail bondsman will charge you about 10% of the amount that is needed to pay the bill. The money that is paid is not refundable. 
  • You'll be asked to fill out forms that will include things like your name, contact information, your address, your place of business, and the names, phone numbers and addresses of people who will be character witnesses for you.
  • It is unlikely that you can pay the bail bond with a check, actual money or with a credit card. Instead, you'll need to bring a money order or a cashier's check.

The Arrested Individual's Part Of The Bail Process - You'd think that, after paying the bond and filling out extensive paper work, you could just go on to the jail and the arrested person could be released. That's not the way it works.

  • Usually people are released on bail in groups, and that could happen in the middle of the night or in the early morning hours.
  • Often, the arrested person is given a certain amount of time to report to the bail bond office. However, since you're already in the vicinity, it's a good idea to just go ahead and get the process started.
  • The arrested person will also need to fill out forms with much of the same information that you had to give. Usually the same character witnesses that you used cannot be used by the arrested person.
  • Before the arrested person leaves the bail bond company, everything that is required of him or her will be explained in detail. The individual may then leave with the knowledge that, if rules are broken, an arrest can be made and that jail may be the next step.

Consider asking the arrested individual to pay you back for every penny you had to give to the bail company. If he or she is your child, think about additional consequences that would reinforce the seriousness of the situation.

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