If you need to post bail in the near future, then there are some things that you should know. Specifically, you probably want to be familiar with your state's laws regarding bail bonds. To that end, here are some questions that you should ask yourself:
Are commercial bail bonds legal in your state?
Although it may come as a surprise to you, not every state allows any commercial bail bonds at all. Illinois, Kentucky, Oregon, and Wisconsin all outlaw commercial bail completely. In those states, bail tends to be set lower, which allows you to meet bail on your own, without requiring external assistance. At the other end of the spectrum, 19 states have no legal restrictions on commercial bail bonds.
Is there a maximum bail rate in your state?
Of the 46 states that do allow commercial bail bonds, 16 have restrictions on how much you need to pay for the service. Many states list two separate criteria, including a flat amount and a percentage of the bail, allowing the service to charge whichever of the two is higher.
As the customer in a commercial bail bond agreement, these statutes work in your favor by saving you money. You also want to be wary about shopping for bail bonds online because the advertised rates might not actually apply in your state. This is mainly a concern when dealing with bail bond agencies that have presences in multiple states.
Can a bail bondsman double as a source of legal advice?
If you are in a situation where you need to post bail, you are also likely looking for legal advice. Many bail bond agencies might advertise that they offer such advice, but you should check to see whether or not your state actually allows bail bondsmen to do so.
17 states have specific statutes that prevent bondsmen from offering such advice. When that number is combined with the total number of states that ban commercial bond outright, you are left with only 29 states that allow bondsmen to give you legal advice on how to proceed.
The main reason why you should be concerned about this practice is because bail bondsmen aren't always practicing lawyers and thus don't have the expertise that you could find with a real attorney. Although it may be tempting to ask your bondsman (like those at Bail Bond BY Affordable Bonding) about what you should do to prove your innocence, your bondsman isn't necessarily more qualified than you to deal with legal proceedings and your defense strategy.