Getting a phone call in the middle of the night from a friend or family member telling you that they have been arrested is shocking. It also means that you need to quickly spring into action and contact a bail bondsman to help your loved one get out of jail. Because acquiring a bail bond isn’t a process you’ve likely dealt with before, you probably don’t know where to turn for help. This means that your first choice for a bail bond agency isn’t always your best option.
So how do you know that you are dealing with a bail bond agent who isn’t the right choice for you? We’ve put together five things that should be a red flag if you hear them from a bondsman during your initial conversation:
They Aren’t Licensed: In California, all professional bail bondsmen are required to be licensed by the state’s Department of Insurance. This licensing is critical, as it guarantees that a bondsman has passed an examination that tests their knowledge of bail bond regulations. Licensing also provides a way for you to file a complaint if you receive poor customer service.
They Offer Unrealistic “Discounted” Rates: Some bail bond agencies will claim that they can get you a “deal” on the percentage you have to pay to them in order to secure a bail bond. The reality is that the industry standard in California is to charge 10 percent of the full rate of the bail bond. If a company is charging less than that, they may be cutting corners in other ways to make up these costs.
They Don’t Have Local Experience: Whenever possible, you want to hire a bail bond agent that has extensive local experience. Receiving local bail bonds services ensures that you will receive top-notch services with as little red tape or hassles as possible.
They Claim to Get People Out of Jail “Faster”: There is no way to “expedite” the bail bonds process; a bond can’t be completed until a person goes through the system, and no bondsman can make this process go faster.
They Don’t Listen: Every situation is unique and there is no “one-size-fits-all” bail bond. You want to hire a bail bondsman who listens to you and gives you options that work for your particular circumstance.