How Bail Bonds Work

Finding a Bail Agent can be stressful during an already trying time. But finding a licensed Bail Bondsman is now easier than ever. The bail bond process may seem overwhelming and confusing, but it is actually very straightforward. Just follow these simple steps.

First, locate a Bail Bond Agent on, or by dialing 1-800-FOR-BAIL. You will be connected directly to a licensed Bail Bondsman in your area. S/he will ask you for specific information about your friend or relative who is detained, including the person's full legal name and date of birth. You will need to tell your Bail Bond Agent the arresting agency (CHP, Sheriff, etc.), as well as the county, city, state and jail where your loved one is being detained. You will need to know both the charge and the bail amount, as well. You may also need to know the booking number.

Your Bail Bondsman may also request some basic information about your friend or relative, such as their current place of employment, residence and previous arrest history.

To provide their invaluable service, the Bail Agent will charge you a fee. This fee covers their costs to process the paperwork and ensure your loved one is released as quickly as possible. The fee charged by the Bail Bond Agency is a percentage of the total bail amount (typically only 10% based upon the state where the jail is located). You can also try to finance the bail bond. Most agencies provide financing options.

Once financial arrangements have been made, your Bail Bond Agent will contact the jail facility and determine exact bail information and arrange to have your friend/relative released. You must stay readily available. Your Bail Bond Agent will probably need to contact you several times during the bail process, so you will need to provide them with a phone number where you can be reached. Your Bail Bondsman may also need you to provide them with a fax number. (You can receive faxes at many grocery stores and Kinko's Copy Centers nationwide.) Your Bail Bond Agent will contact you as soon as these arrangements have been completed.

Above all, please have patience. Many detention facilities (especially those in large metropolitan areas) are very slow in processing and often have their telephone lines overloaded with calls. Trust that your Bail Bond Agent is working diligently on your behalf.