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4 Steps To Take When You Find Out Your Loved One Is In Jail

You're hanging out at home when you get a phone call from your local jail. The person on the other end of the line is your friend or family member, and they're asking you to help bail them out of jail. If you're like many people, you may have no idea what to do in this situation. Here are four steps you should take when you find out your loved one is in jail:

1. Don't forget to ask questions.

When you first find out that your loved one is in jail, you may be panicked and concerned. Try to calm down. Don't accuse them of anything, since that's unhelpful, and high emotions can make people say things they might regret. Instead, stick to the basic facts. Ask them the things you need to know, such as their bail amount and the location of the jail where they are being held. Let them know immediately whether or not you're willing to bail them out of jail.

2. Visit a bail bond company.

Bail must be paid in cash, and depending on your financial situation, you may not have that much cash on hand. You can still help your loved one by visiting a bail bond company. A bail bondsman will give you the money you need to pay your friend's bail, in exchange for collateral from you.

3. Only take out a bail bond for someone you trust.

When you go to a bail bondsman for bail money, you'll have to put up collateral. Essentially, you're cosigning a loan for the person that you're bailing out of jail. That means that if they don't show up for court, they will need to pay the bail bondsman back in full for the cost of their bail; and if they don't pay their bail, then you'll have to. Only get a bail bond for someone that you know is trustworthy, unless you're fine with ending up with the bill.

4. Ensure the person you bailed out gets to court.

It's a good idea to follow up with your friend or loved one even after you bail them out of jail. Ask them when their court date is and ensure they make it there on time. Find out if there are any obstacles standing in their way, such as work or lack of transportation. If necessary, give them a ride to their court hearing. This may seem like a lot of extra work, but it can help both of you avoid extra fees. Plus, you'll be doing a favor for someone you care about.