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When you don't have enough money or collateral to pay the full bail ordered by the court, a bail bond company can save the day by putting up the money for you and only requiring you to only pay a fee (commonly 10 percent of the bail amount) for the service. However, sometimes even paying the bondsman's fee can be too much for your stretched finances. If you need to post bail but don't have enough cash, here are three things you can try to make the bond fee more affordable.
Ask for a Discount
The fees bail bond companies charge is tightly regulated. Bondsmen can only charge clients the rates allowable by state law. Any deviation from what the government allows could result in the bail bond company facing serious consequences, such as losing its license. But while the company may be restricted in what it can do with the bail bond fees, that doesn't mean they don't have any leeway at all.
In some states, bondsman can charge on a sliding scale. In others, companies can make exceptions and offer discounts to customers who belong to special groups. In California, for instance, the maximum/minimum bail bond rate is 10 percent of the bail amount. However, bail bondsman can reduce the rate to 8 percent for clients who are members of a union, are in the military, or are honorably discharged veterans. In Georgia, the law states bond fees can't exceed 15 percent of the bail amount or $50 (whichever is greater), so theoretically the companies could charge less and stay compliant with the law.
Thus, if you're struggling to come up with the bail amount, don't hesitate to ask if the bail bondsman is allowed to give discounts. Be sure you have proof of any exceptions you may qualify for so you can get the reduced rate if one is available.
Look for No- or Low-Money-Down Plans
If no discounts are available, another option for making the bail bond fee more affordable is to look for companies that offer no- or low-money-down plans. People who qualify for these plans aren't required to pay the bail bond fee right away, or they only have to pay a smaller amount upfront (e.g. 1 percent instead of the full 10 percent). Rather, the fee is broken up into smaller payments over a period of time (e.g. 3 payments over 3 months), which can make it easier to fit the fee into a tight budget.
Be aware, though, that qualifying for these types of plans is similar to taking out loans because essentially that what these are. The bail company may check your credit, employment, and other factors to assess how much of a risk it would be to let you make payments over time. If the risk is too high, your application for this plan may be denied or the bail bond company may require you to put up collateral to guarantee the bond or have someone with a better credit profile cosign the bond agreement with you.
Request a Waiver
While bail bond companies get into the industry to make money, they also want to help people. Thus, some companies may have a program where they waive the bail bond fee (or pay it on your behalf) under certain circumstances. For instance, if the case involves a gross miscarriage of justice, the company may waive the fee as a form of donation to the defendant facing the charges.
Not all companies do this, mind you, but it doesn't hurt to ask if this is a possibility. You may be surprised at the creative solutions a bondsman can come up with to help you out of a jam.
For more information about making bail bond fees more affordable or to secure a bond, contact a bail bond service company in your area.Share
24 January 2019