How to Find a Bail Bondsman

If you have been arrested, the chances are you will need bail in order to be released from jail. While some people are released on their own recognizance by simply promising to turn up for their court date, most have to pay some form of bail.

Bail is an amount of money that you, your family or friends pay to secure your release. For standard misdemeanors there is normally a standard bail amount, and by paying this at the jail, you will not have to wait to appear before a judge. Jails accept cash, money orders and cashiers checks. When the case is over, the bail money will be returned. If a judge sets the amount of bail, they will take into account the seriousness of the charges, the defendant’s character and past history, and the potential flight risk.

Ways to Pay Your Bail

  • Cash
  • Money Order
  • Cashiers Check
  • Hire a Bail Bondsman

How to Hire a Bail Bondsman

If it’s not a great amount, you may be able to come up with the money yourself, but if not, you can seek help from a bail bondsman. A bail bondsman will loan you the money you need to get out of jail, but it will cost you a fee, normally 10% of the bail amount. Therefore, if your bail is $5,000, the bondsman will charge you $500 to post your bail. Even when the case is over, this is non-refundable. You can call a Bail Bondsman from jail, or your family can hire one for you. Once you have located the Bondsman, paperwork will normally take less than an hour.


  • A bail bondsman charges a fee that equals 10% of your total bail amount.

How It Works

The Bondsman is taking a risk by loaning you the money: if you don’t show up for your court date, he is responsible for paying the entire bail amount to the court. Because of this, most Bondsmen require a co-signer who promises to pay the full amount of the bail if you fail to make it to court. The co-signer will have to put up their assets as a surety, for example, property, stocks or bonds, or a vehicle. A lien may be put on the house, and if you skip town, the court may initiate foreclosure proceedings to recover the forfeited bail amount. A bondsman will always accept cash as collateral, which will be returned when the case is over.


  • If your bail is especially high, you may need to put up collateral.
  • Cash, property like vehicles, land and houses, as well as stocks can be used as collateral.

Find A Bail Bondsman

Make Sure the Bondsman is Legitimate

A Bondsman is licensed by the state. When you first meet, make sure that his license number is on any paperwork or a business card. If you don’t see it, ask to see his license. Read all paperwork carefully prior to signing anything, and remember to keep copies of everything.


  • Make sure any bail bondsman you hire is licensed by the state you are in.

Don’t Skip Town

By posting a bail bond on your behalf, the Bail Bondsman is taking responsibility for you. If you don’t follow the terms and conditions that they have set, you run the risk of being sent back to jail. Always check in at the required times, and make sure that they know where you are at all times. If you fail to appear in court, a bench warrant will be issued for your arrest. A Bail Bondsman has court authorized power to arrest you. They can also hire a bail fugitive recovery person (or bounty hunter) to track you down.


  • Don’t skip town.
  • If you skip out on your bondsman they can track you down and arrest you.
  • If you skip out on your bondsman, you will lose any collateral that you posted with them.

Bear in mind that certain states have banned the practice of bail bonds, so be sure to check your local jurisdiction to find out what options are available to you.

This page was last updated on October 12, 2017 7:40 AM EST


  1. Rodger Hopkins says:

    Northampton Bail Bonds proudly serves the Eastern Shore of Virginia 24 hours a day.

  2. Pamela says:

    Ok please understand this I have no money and i need to get my daughters boyfriend out and i can’t come up with the ten percent but i do have property but its not worth 3X the full bond amount and i need to know can i just give a bondsman a deed to one of my house for the 10% and i need to find a bondsman.

  3. Niki C. says:

    In the state of Illinois is a bail bondsman banned? does this change per the county or is it just state law? If it is not banned I would like information to contact a local bail bondsmen. My fiancé is the whole world in every way to myself and our 4 year old daughter. We just need him home, even if it is just for a little while. He is crucial to being be able to get a few affairs in order and prepare ourselves a bit, like some things that would be impossible for 1 woman to accomplish alone. I don’t want our family to face losing everything we have. Not due to choices made prior to having a family and 1 person going away for a couple years. I believe he may get sentenced to 2-3 years jail. We deserve to say goodbye and see him off. I know I could come up with collateral for something this important to us all. If theres anyone with some information on bail bondsman or anything else that may help Id appreciate it greatly. Thank you.

  4. Terri says:

    Please beware of bondsman. They lie and cheat to get more money out if you. I was not told to call the police to turn my son in. Instead I told the bondsman how to find him. So he used a recovery agent and it cost me 10percent more. If I would have called the police it would not have cost me the extra 10percent which was 5000.00!

  5. angela says:

    Ok please understand this I have no money and i need to get my husband out and i can’t come up with the ten percent

  6. Joseph A. says:

    The Montgomery County Clerk of Courts says you can put up 10% if the bail is “$5000, 10%”, at least on their web page. They keep $100 out of the $500.
    The bail bondsman I spoke with says no. Only the bail bondsman can put up the 10%.
    This site seems to agree with the bail bondsman, with the addition that you need the whole $5000 yourself if it is a cash bond, where the bail bondsman was going to charge $500 + some other fees when the bail was a cash bail.

    Nobody seems to have consistent information, but I will find out and post back.

  7. Jackie S says:

    My boyfriend got arrested for misdemeanor traffic violations & mis. drug paraphernalia his bonds on violations were
    TOTAL BOND: $1,700.00
    I called bond company & the guy said he could get him out q
    with $200.00 & that he probably wouldnt owe anymore money forthe bond so i brought them $200.00 cash the lerk thetheave me a receipt for $170.00 telling me that the other $30.00 was for money orders etc… but did not document that bit was paid. When they went to release him from jail they had yim sign paperwork & he did not know I had been quoted total bond would be $200.00 he signed papers it had BALANCE DUE: $609.00 that did not include the $200.00 already paid, he was not given acopy of those papers and didnt really understand that the nre violations were at municipal court & the violations he had warrants pn were at county courthouse he assumed they were the same courts so he went and made arrangements to pay the 2 violations that wete warrants and assume he would go to xourt later date on the new violations and the bond company is charging him $50.00 biweekly for the $609.00 so i called and adk them about this high balance that was not was i was qupted and i was told total bond fee was 10 percent of total bond fee of $1,700.00 which woyld be $170.00 qhich i had receipt minus the fee of $30.00 that they did not document anywhere. Thwy said that the + percent was just the fee to get him out of jail and that thwy could charge any price they wanted were not regulated by anyone. is yhia legal to charge $809.00 for a traffoc violation bond if only $1,700.00?? Now the violations that he bonded put on that were new put out new warrants because he did not hve paoer work from bind company outlining his obligation to contact municipal court.aplease can u help me on this i cant believe that they can legally charge that much for suc a small bond ani where is the $200.00 on any paperwork or deducted from any balance due.PLEASE HELP AS SOON AS POSSIBLE he has already paid another $150.00 making total payments of $250.00 with arrest warrants again.
    thank u for your help.

  8. SUZANNE A. says:


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