When a judge allows for bail, it is not just money that gets your family member out of jail. You have to go to a bail bondsperson to secure a bail bond. Jails do not release prisoners on cash bail; you have to have a bond to present to the front desk. The court appearance bail bonds serve a purpose, but you should also be very careful when securing a bail bond for your family member.
The Purpose of a Bail Bond
A bail bond "bonds" the accused to a promise that he or she will appear at the next appointed hearing or trial related to his/her case. If you were allowed to pay cash to get this person released from jail, there is nothing holding that person to making the appointed and required appearance. As such, he or she could get out on the cash you ponied up, and leave the country, with virtually NO repercussions attached. A bail bond attaches numerous repercussions, including the legal ability to send a bounty hunter after the runner.
Why You Should Be Careful When Securing a Bail Bond
Almost no one has the amount of money a judge usually demands for bail. This is intentional, as it gives the accused time in jail to think about the charges. However, the judge also makes it a fair enough amount that family or friends can find the means to release the accused on a bail bond.
You should be exceedingly careful about getting a bail bond. Most often, people use their homes, cars, recreational vehicles, or other personal assets to secure a bail bond. The trouble with this arrangement comes when the newly-freed accused does run away. If the accused cannot be found and brought back to court, everything you put up to secure the bail bond becomes the property of the bondsperson. This could leave you homeless, without transportation, or penniless.
Recourse for Jumping Bail
Thankfully, most states have a statute of limitations on the bondsperson's ability to claim property. If your family member runs off and does not appear in court, the bondsperson may not be able to take control of your property for thirty to ninety days afterward. Some states also allow the return of personal property if the accused is found and brought back to court for a hearing. Check with your bondsperson before you agree to sign over any property. You can also visit websites like http://absolutebailbond.com/.