If you're unfortunate enough to have a friend or loved one who's been arrested you might be wondering how you can help them. In this article we're telling you all about bail bond loans, what they are, how they work and where you can get them. Before you despair about finding the cash to get your loved one released, read on..

What 'Exactly' is Bail?

The first thing that you need to understand is what the process is. Sometimes when a person is arrested the court will allow them to post bail. Whether or not they can do this depends on various things, including the crime that the person is accused of. A sum of money is paid to the court on behalf of the accused and acts as a sort of guarantee. When the money is paid, the accused may leave jail and go home, but must continue to show up for court dates and police interviews. As long as the accused still comes to these appointments the money will be returned once the accused has been proven guilty or innocent.

What is a Bail Bond Loan?

A bail bond loan is exactly what it sounds like. Courts often set usually extremely high sureties, and it can be difficult for many people to raise that kind of cash by themselves, so these people turn to a bondsman to help find the money that they need.

A bail bondsman will make a bail bond loan, lending money to the person who needs it. Essentially, the he will pay the bail to the court, and you as the borrower will pay a small sum of money to the him. This sum will be between about five and fifty percent of the total amount of the bail money.

They will also collect some kind of collateral from you. This may be the title to a car or house that you own, or even jewelry or electronics in some cases. This acts as insurance just in case he does not get his money back.

When the court returns the money to you, you will give this money to your bail bondsman. That initial payment that you made to the bondsman will not be returned to you, nor will it be subtracted from the amount you owe. The initial payment is the profit that the bondsman makes for lending you the money you need. Whatever you gave as collateral WILL be returned to you at this time.

What about Surety Bail Bonding?

When you borrow money from a bank, for example, there are usually only two people involved in the deal: you and the bank that lends you money. Many bail bond loans involve three people however, known as the principal, the obligee and the surety.

The principal is the person borrowing money (you), and the obligee is the person lending money (your bail bondsman). The surety is a sort of cosigner to the loan, and is someone that offers more insurance or protection for the bail bondsman. The surety is like insurance, and if the bail money is not returned to the bondsman the surety will pay the bondsman the money instead.

Jumping Bail

If the accused doesn't show up for his or her court date, this is known as jumping bail. In the majority of cases this will mean that the money that's been paid to the court is now forfeit- you will not get it back. In turn, this means that your bail bondsman will also not get his money back.

What happens in these cases isn't always the same, but in general your collateral will revert to the bondsman unless you can find another way to get him his money. Sometimes a bounty hunter will be hired (either by you or by the bail bondsman) to try and find the accused, arrest him again and bring him back, at which point you have another chance to retrieve your money.

State Variance

Bail laws and bondsman laws vary state by state. In some states, such as Oregon, commercial bail bonding is illegal. It is in your bondsman's best interest to help you, he wants to get his money back and make a profit, so don't hesitate to ask him any questions you have or to ask him for advice.