One thing I’ve learned by starting my own bail bond business is that most people really have no idea how bail bonds work or who would need one. This is actually a good thing! The fact that you don’t know how they work means you’ve never had to bond someone out. However, because of this, it is a business that is ripe with misconceptions.
Here are a few of the most common misconceptions. Read on and I’ll try to shed some light on how bail bonds work, the business, and who might need the services of a bail bondsman.
Misconception 1: It’s like Dog the Bounty Hunter
Oh my goodness, no. It would be the equivalent of watching an episode of Gray’s Anatomy and assuming that was how residents and physicians really interacted in a hospital. Reality TV and REALITY = two totally different worlds. I really have nothing left to say…it’s just not even close.
Misconception 2: It’s the wild west, not regulated
Ok, a LONG time ago, bail bonds may have been a tad unruly. However, it is 2016 and for those of us that live in urban, populated areas like Fort Worth, bail bonds and those that are licensed to make bail, are HIGHLY regulated. Notice I said, “licensed”? All bail agents are required to be licensed – and this comes with continuing education requirements as well as financial requirements. Large counties (like Tarrant County) are required to have a board that governs bail in their county and ensures all laws are followed.
Misconception 3: It’s a “shady” business
The US has one of the most amazing criminal justice systems in the world and the fact that you are able to bond out of jail while awaiting to answer the accusation against you is part of what makes it so amazing. In other countries, if you are accused of a crime, you can be put in jail and you stay there until your trial – you don’t even have the opportunity to bond out. The purpose of bail is to make sure you return to court when called – and you don’t have to sit in jail for months while you wait. Some individuals don’t have the money for the full amount of the bond or would prefer to use their money on a quality lawyer, so they use a bail bondsman to get out. Yes, the bondsman gets paid to do it, but they also assume financial risk. It is an important part of the criminal justice system and most of the bondsmen I know are good, hardworking individuals – nothing shady about it.
Misconception 4: All they do is get people out of jail.
Yes, bail bond companies get people out of jail. However, there is so much more to it. A good bondsman should do everything they can to keep the client updated on their court dates and help them understand and navigate the process. Sometimes clients are on bond for several years and the bondsman should stay on top of it. At Mission Bail Bonds, we strive to go the extra mile in connecting our clients with additional services that can assist them.
Misconception 5: The fee is always 10% of the bond amount.
Everyone wants this one to be true, but it’s not. Are there bonds that are 10%? Yes, absolutely. But, to say that the bond fee will always be 10% is simply not true (at least for any bond companies I know). There are many factors that play into the bond fee – the price of the bond, the history of the accused, the county the charge is in, etc. And many companies charge differently – some charge a flat fee, others charge a fee to get someone out and then charge additional fees along the way. It’s important to know upfront what fees will be required along the way. Don’t be afraid to ask.
Misconception 6: The last misconception is really about the person being bonded out of jail.
What does that person look like? Do they look like a criminal from the movies? Believe it or not, they look like you and me. They could be your neighbor, employer, friend, local business owner, etc. Just because they have been arrested doesn’t automatically mean they are guilty. Normal, everyday people get arrested all the time – regardless of their social or economic standing. It is always interesting to tell people what we do – and then listen to how many of them confess that they have had to be bonded out before. You’d be surprised how many people will fess up!
If you need more information on how to get someone out of jail in the Fort Worth area, please give us a call. We would love to help! 817-840-6000.
Mission Bail Bonds is based out of Fort Worth and serves all Tarrant County jails.