Most crime TV shows make bail seem like a neat, straightforward process; however, it's unwise to rely on your memory of those shows when you discover a loved one's been arrested. What seemed like an easy activity can be more serious, complex, and time-consuming than expected. Which expectations should be adjusted when you have to deal with bail in the real world?
1. Expectation That All Bail Companies Work the Same
One bail bond company may seem like the rest; you might expect that you'll just visit one and have your loved one released. You may vaguely expect that different bail companies have varying fees, but because you're eager to help the person who's been arrested, it may not seem important.
Not only will different bail companies have different administrative costs, but more importantly, they will have different criteria they exercise when deciding to work with someone. Each company has an application process which takes time as they investigate individuals for risk, the severity of the crime, and other details. In fact, your loved one's application could be rejected--and you'd have to start over with another company.
Knowing this, after an arrest you should complete applications with a few different bail companies. As you wait for decisions, investigate fees and other rules.
2. Expectation of Rapid Release
Even if you're working with a competent bail agent, it's an error to expect that bail paperwork being sent over to a holding facility will mean your loved one gets a rapid release. Once the bail papers are delivered, there could be one of many reasons that release doesn't happen immediately. Holiday hours, weekends and facility backlog could affect how slowly or quickly things happen. Your bail agent should understand the delays that are possible and relay those to you so that you aren't surprised. They can give you an average release time so you can plan and tell your loved one.
3. Expectation That Your Loved One Will Report to Court
Your keen focus on a loved one's release could make you less concerned about your own interests. However, as you're arranging bail, you should do so without the expectation that your relative will remain in town for court. If they don't, their actions could have real effects on your own finances. Prepare yourself for this possibility, even if you think you don't need to.
Once your expectations are more realistic, you can take the right actions to ensure you can secure bail and protect your own legal and financial interests. Use a bail agent from a reputable company who can provide regular customer support throughout the whole process. Reach out to a company such as Justice Bail Bonds to learn more.