The first step in properly using a bail bondsman is to know the types of bail bonds that exist. There are 3 varieties of bail bonds:

1. CASH – Cash bonds are cash or money orders.
2. PROPERTY – Property bonds use property or value of property as collateral.
3. SURETY – Surety bonds mostly resemble a loan. As such, they’re often the most affordable way to get out of jail with bail. The bail bondsman pays the total amount of the bail to the court. The defendant pays a percentage of the bail amount to the bail bondsman along with an agreement to appear in court.

The next step it to know the bail amount and the bondsman fee.

Find out what the bail amount is at the jail. The judge presiding over the case sets the bail amount by the severity of the crime and the possibility of the defendant being a flight risk. Some crimes are severe enough that bail is not granted. The majority of the time there is a pre-determined bail schedule to dictate the bail amount for common crimes. The sooner a defendant knows the amount of the bail, the sooner the defendant can begin to decide what course of action to take. A defendant may also request that a judge lower the bail amount. Different states have different laws, which dictate the fee percentage a bail bondsman is allowed to take. The standard fee is around 10 percent. A court clerk can assist you with understanding the bail bondsman fees.

It’s crucial to communicate with your bonding agent.

There are many ways to find a bail bondsman. A defendant can look online, ask for referrals, look in a phonebook and more. Once the bail bondsman has shown up with a license, itemized receipts, and a signed contract, it is time to pay the bail bondsman fee. It is possible to discuss other forms of fee payment, if the bondsman fee is still too high. Collateral and property are the two most common forms of non-monetary fee payments. Some bonding companies can even accept credit cards.

Lastly, and most importantly, the defendant must appear in court.

Go to court on the scheduled court date at the scheduled court time. Once the appearance is made, the court refunds the bail bondsman the amount of the bail. The bail bond agent receives his or her money back plus the fee and the contract is settled.