Getting a call from a loved one who has been arrested can make you feel stressed and anxious, especially if you have been asked for help with bail. Unfortunately, you may find yourself unable to help. It is common for people to face financial struggles, which makes bailing someone out of jail near impossible. Working with a bail bondsman often provides a more affordable option, but even then, you may not have the funds. Depending on several factors, you may be able to request an appearance bond on your loved one's behalf.
Appearance Bond vs. Traditional Bond
Most commonly, when a person is arrested, a bail bondsman will offer a traditional bond approach. A traditional bond is a set amount a bail bondsman will accept before allowing the release of a person from jail. Typically, a traditional bond is set at a percent of the bail set by the judge, which is usually 10%. Say, for instance, your loved one's bail was set at $1,000. That means you must pay $100 to the bondsman for your loved one's release. Your loved one must then appear in court, or you will be charged the remaining amount of the bail set by the judge.
However, any amount of money may be difficult to pay if you are facing financial hardship. If you are unable to pay a bondsman any money, that does not mean all hope is lost for your loved one. It may be possible to request an appearance bond. An appearance bond is a signed promise that the accused will appear in court. In other words, your loved one can get out of jail with the promise to appear rather than having to pay any money for release.
Determining Factors for an Appearance Bond
Whether or not you qualify for an appearance bond will depend on varying factors of your loved one's situation. For instance, the judge will weigh the following:
- Severity of the crime - If the crime was a minor one, the judge may be more likely to grant an appearance bond rather than expecting a cash bond payment
- Criminal history - If your loved one does not have a previous criminal history, it increases the likelihood of an appearance bond approval
- Financial situation - Combined with the previously mentioned factors, a judge may grant an appearance bond for dire financial circumstances
The best way to determine if your loved one qualifies for an appearance bond is to contact a bail bondsman near you. The bail bondsman can make the appropriate phone calls to establish if an appearance bond best fits your loved one's situation.