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Should You Pay Bail Yourself Or Use An Agency?

If you've never dealt with the government's system of bail bonds, you might start by assuming you need to post the surety yourself. That is an option, but there are several compelling reasons to consider using a bail bonds agency instead. Here are three reasons to consider working with a bail bondsman before you decide which approach to use.

Reduced Amount

Courts prefer to deal with bail bondsmen, and judges typically offer significantly reduced totals compared to when people pay bail themselves. This is because state laws allow a bail bond agency to compel you to appear. In other words, they can send an agent or even a bounty hunter to collect someone if they jump bail. Pushing the responsibility of recovery onto a company saves the government money.

The upside for you as a defendant in a criminal case is that you don't have to pay as much. Conversely, you also won't get the bail amount back if you win. If you pay bail yourself, you're effectively betting on yourself to make every court appearance or to have counsel present with the judge's consent. Anyone who misses even one appearance risks forfeiting all the bail, and that applies even if they eventually win their case.


Given the risk of forfeiting the surety, people who are paying for the release of others often prefer the higher trust level associated with a bail bondsman. If you have a relative who needed a DUI bail bond payment, for example, you might not have the highest confidence that they'll conform to the terms of their release. The terms can often limit where a defendant can go and what they can do. If you're worried that even one of the terms might be tough for them to follow, you may be better off working with a bail bond agency.


Bail bondsmen want their money back. They don't want to have to track a person down so the court will release their money, either. Consequently, a bail bondsman will help you deal with the basics. If you need someone to remind you of when your court dates are, they'll be happy to send you texts, emails, and voice messages. Why do they do that? It is cheaper than searching for you.

Folks who handle bail bonds in a particular town also know the legal scene there. If you need to find a lawyer, they usually can give you a list of law offices to check out. 

For more info, explore a website for a bail bondsman.