Bail Bonds Basics

What image pops in your head when you think about bail bonds? Do you think about Dog the Bounty Hunter who chases people down, slaps handcuffs on them, and brings them back to jail while giving them a nice lesson about responsibility along the way? You shouldn’t. Most of reality television is staged and made to be very entertaining for the viewer. The truth about bail bonds is that the industry isn’t all that glamorous and there are several bonding companies who want to get out of the business. It can be lucrative, but its also a pain to deal with all of the riffraff.

Bail bonds are available to most people who get arrested. While we don’t personally write any bail bonds ourselves, we refer others to a great bondsman here in Atlanta. Refer to the bottom section of our homepage for bail bonds information.  If you’re looking for immigration bonds (I.C.E. bonds) where the defendant has a hold in Atlanta or any of the counties in the metro area, give us a call.

How Bail Bonds Work

When someone gets arrested, they are booked into one of the jails in the area. For lesser offenses like misdemeanors, the defendant will be booked into a city detention center or jail. For bigger offenses of the criminal variety, the defendant will be booked into a county jail. Even if they get booked into one of the city jails, they will most likely be transferred to a county jail at a later time. While this is the norm, there are some circumstances where the inmate will stay in the city detention facility even though they have committed a serious crime. This happens only occasionally though.

A bail bond will only be available to an inmate after they have been booked fully by the jail staff. They have to get their fingerprints and photo taken (otherwise known as a mugshot) and all of their paperwork has to be completed. This process could last for up to 8 hours depending on the jail and their current workload. Again, please refer to our preferred bail bonds agency who we list on the bottom of our homepage for contact information.

The best thing to do when you get a call from an inmate is to call a bondsman immediately. They’ll be able to track down the jail in which the defendant is currently incarcerated and find out the bail amount. Be sure that when the inmate calls you, they don’t give any incriminating evidence over the phone. Read our list of tips for inmates awaiting surety bonds after arrest for more information. After they locate the defendant in the jail’s system, the bondsman’s job is to make sure that there isn’t any risk of flight and that the co-signer has a stable income and can prove financial responsibility. If those two things are in place, all you need to do is come up with the money. Most bail bonds companies will charge anywhere between 10% and 15% plus any jail fees that are tacked on. There’s no way to get around those fees as they come straight from the jail system themselves.

If you don’t want to use the bondsman that we recommend on our homepage, here’s how you find one that can get an inmate released pretty quickly.

Finding a Bondsman

  1. Make a list of bondsmen or bonding companies in the Atlanta area that you find in the Yellow Pages or an online search.
  2. Look at each one of their star ratings on sites like Yelp and Foursquare.
  3. Write down the phone numbers and addresses of the ones with the best reviews.
  4. Call each of them and cross the ones who don’t answer the phone off of your list.
  5. Talk to a couple different bondsmen to see what their qualifications are to be a co-signer on the bond.
  6. Find out how much money you’ll have to pay and choose a bondsman based on the aforementioned criteria and the degree of professionalism they exhibit over the phone.
  7. Come up with the money and call the bonding company back to let them know you are coming.
  8. Go the bondsman’s office and sign the paperwork.
  9. Give them the money for the bond.
  10. Go home and wait for the person to be released. The bondsman will hand deliver the bond to the jail.

The jail release process can take some time and it gets even more complicated with all of the different types of bonds used in immigration and criminal cases, so don’t plan on waiting around the jail or the bonding office. It could be a while. Instead, go home and try to relax. It will all be over soon.

So, that’s basically how bail bonds work and how to find a bondsman in Atlanta (or any other city for that matter). Best of luck!


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