Monday, May 28, 2012

Telltale Signs of a Dishonest Bondsman

You know what they say -- don't drink and drive. Unfortunately, not all people follow this very simple rule and they go ahead and drive while under the influence of alcohol. If they get pulled over by the police, they find themselves spending the night in jail.

If you happen to land in prison for a drunk driving incident, then the one thing going through your head is how to get out of jail fast. After all, who wants to spend a night in prison?

Getting Out of Jail

The most common way to get out of jail is to post a bail, the amount of which is set by the judge. If you have money or credit card and if you have a good credit history, then you can quickly get out of jail. If not, then you might have to spend the night in jail until you come up with the bail amount.

Fortunately, getting out of prison is made easier by a bondsman. What they do is to post a bail on your behalf or sign an agreement with the court that you'll be appearing for all the court dates. If you attended all your court dates, the bondsman will get his money back, if he fronted the money, that is. On the other hand, if you skipped bail and did not attend all your court dates, then the court will go after the bondsman, who will have to pay for the whole bail amount. If this happens, the bondsman can set bounty hunters after you to get his money back.


Looking for a Bondsman

If you don't have the money to post a bail, then you have no other choice but to look for a bondsman. However, there are just so many of them to choose from, all of whom are after your business. After all, he is going to earn at least 10% of your bail bond amount, and this is a nonrefundable fee even if you showed up for all your court dates.

Choosing a bondsman is difficult, especially if this is your first time to use their service. For this reason, here are the warning signs of a deceitful bondsman that you should be aware of:
  • You should be extra careful of a bondsman or a bail bond company that advertises zero down and 5% bail. More often than not, they are making use of the "bait and switch" strategy. Yes, the fee is rather small, but you should know they are probably only advertising this low because they want you to sign the contract, and when they get what they want, then they'll tell you the real terms and conditions of their contract. 
  • You should be wary of new bail bond companies, especially those that have no bail bond insurance. You also have to be wary of bondsmen and bail bond agencies whose insurance companies disallowed them from having an outstanding bond liability. More often than not, they're only after your bond money. They'll look for a reason to return you back to jail and have the bond revoked. Some new bail bond companies are also fly-by-night agencies. Once you've paid the premium, they disappear.
  • A bondsman who insists that you sign the contract first before he answers your questions is a sign of a deceitful bondsman, so is a bondsman who is impatient and refuses or avoids to answer your questions. He is more interested in getting your money than helping you out of jail.
Jennifer Dane works for a San Diego bail bonds company. She's also a blogger who owns a couple of blogs that focus mainly on drunk driving as well as bail and bail bonds. Jennifer also contributes articles to Direct, bail bonds company in CA.

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