There are many a tale to tell about the bail bond business, at least 101 by my account. This is one such tale. So, let’s set the stage.
On the West coast it was Saturday night nearly 10 pm, while on the East coast it was approaching 1 am Sunday morning. I received a text from a long-time friend, which read:
“Need your advice now, please respond.”
I responded, “Take two aspirin and get a good night’s sleep.”
I knew there was tension, when the next text from my East coast friend was, “Not funny!”
“Well, what’s the problem?”
It struck me as very serious when he texted, “Can I call you?”
“Of course you can,” was my next text back, but I feared that I would be informed about a death or serious accident.
The news was family business. My friend’s son had been arrested for pulling a knife in an argument with the son’s landlord. I have to assume that the argument had to have become a bit heated if a weapon was pulled.
As you could have guessed, the local law enforcement agency showed up after receiving a call from a neighbor and my friend’s son was cuffed and taken into custody. The charge was aggravated assault with intent to do bodily harm. Luckily, the knife wasn’t used, just flashed.
On the downside, the young man has a criminal record and served time in the “big house” for his previous unlawful activities. Now, it’s a new chapter and the law will take its course.
The reason for the text was to ask me, after getting a call from his son begging for bail to be posted, if he should post the bail and what the real risk is.
On the upside, bail in that part of the country is very low for such a serious offense. The father, my friend, asked if I could explain the scenarios.
I gave him my opinion based on having been a licensed bail agent. You can put up the cash or use a credit card and post the bail, however, if “junior” misses a court date from sleeping in as a result of partying the night before, you will forfeit your money and a warrant would probably be issued for your son’s arrest and you’re back to square one, with more than likely a higher bail amount, or a no bail hold. The bail company wants your signature on a piece of paper as the Indemnitor, so the risk is on your shoulders. “Do you trust your son enough to do that,” was my question.
There was silence on the phone and then the reply, “What are the other options?”
Further probing lead to the discovery that the son had called a bail bond company and gave the bail bondsman his father’s name and number. I explained that the bail company would require just ten percent of the bail amount, but there was a downside to this less expensive approach.
“What’s that,” he muttered.
You’re going to sign a lot of paperwork that essentially boils down to your agreement that you will assume the full obligation of the bail amount and other costs associated with, including pursuit and capture of “junior” if your son decides to bolt and disappear. My friend didn’t like that possibility. He was also uncomfortable with disclosing personal finances, his social security information, and the fine print of the bail agreement.
My East coast friend told me that he loved his son, but his son, over the years of raising him and witnessing him having scrapes with the law in the past, left him with an uneasy feeling.
Another option is to do nothing. Let your son sit in jail and contemplate his actions and await arraignment. There is the possibility that he would be released on his own recognizance, due to the fact that he served his time for his past “hiccup” in life and was not on probation and was employed.
Think about it was my conclusion. Put up all the money and if it all goes well and is resolved, you’ll get your money back a few weeks after the case is closed or, put up ten percent, which is a premium that you will not get back, and assume all the risk in either scenario. Or, let him sit and do nothing.
“Thank you for your time. I’m sorry it’s so late on a Saturday night. After talking with you, I’ve decided to keep my money in my pocket and let my son, who I love very much, face the consequences of his actions on his own.”
As you can see, love of family doesn’t always triumph in a tough situation, but common sense and strict parenting has definitely played a part.