My Friend or Family Member Is In Custody. How Can I Get Them Out?

If your friend or family member is currently being held in custody, you have four main options:

  • You can get a bail bond by paying the bond fee. The bail bondsman will take care of the actual process of bonding your friend or family member out.
  • You can pay the full amount of bail with the court. This amount of bail will be returned to you if the defendant shows up to their court date as requested.
  • You can put collateral up with the court. For the courts, this can generally only be real property — such as a house or a vacation home that you own.
  • You can simply wait. Your family member may be released by the court in time, or they may need to stay in custody until their court date.

Generally, if you do not have the money or real property to bail a friend or family member out, you will need to pay a bondsman.

How Do I Find Out My Friend Or Family Member’s Bail Amount?

A bail bondsman can find this information out for you. All you need to know is your family member’s full name, where they are being held, and what their booking number is. The bail bondsman will then call to verify the charges against your friend or family member and determine the bond amount. The bond amount may vary depending on the number of charges the individual is being held regarding. You can also call the arresting police department yourself to request this information.

How Can I Get a Bail Bond?

The process of getting a bail bond is quite simple. The bail bondsman will call the police department or jail that is currently holding your friend or family member and will determine the full amount of bail, in addition to the bond amount. Once you have paid the bond amount in either cash or collateral, the bail bondsman will process the paperwork that is necessary to get your friend or family member released.

What If I Don’t Have Enough Money For a Bail Bond?

If you don’t have enough money for a bail bond, you can put up collateral instead. A bail bondsman may accept: vehicles, real estate, cash accounts, credit cards, jewelry, and other items of known value. In general, you will need to relinquish either the property itself at the time of the bonding (for smaller, less valuable items) or have a lien filed against the property (for vehicles and real estate) for the duration of the bond.

What Happens If My Friend or Family Member Doesn’t Show Up to Court?

When an individual does not show up to court, the individual who bailed them out will become responsible for the full amount of the bail. If you bailed them out directly, you will not receive your bail money or collateral back. If you bailed them out through a bondsman, you will be responsible for the full amount of the bail, paid to the bondsman. There are ways to remedy a situation if an individual is unable to attend court — but you need to contact your bondsman as soon as possible.