Getting arrested is bad enough, but things can quickly spiral into a complicated mess if you're taken into custody in a state you don't live in. Specifically, you may have a difficult time getting a bail company to take your case, even though you have plenty of money to pay the fee. Here's the reason why and what you may have to do to get yourself out of jail.
The Risks Are Higher
There are several reasons why bail bond companies will refuse to bail out someone who doesn't live in the state, but the simplest one is that many don't want to assume the increased risks associated with out-of-state defendants. Because the person is not a resident of the state where he or she is arrested, there's a higher risk the individual won't show up to court appointments, which will lead to bail forfeiture and cause the bail company to lose money.
Additionally, since bail bond laws are different in each state, it may be more difficult for the company to apprehend the defendant and/or assert its rights. At the very least, the cost of doing so will be higher, and many bondsmen just aren't willing to invest that kind of time and money into cases that could go badly really quickly.
Get a Transfer Bond Instead
Although the bondsman may not be willing to pay your bail, the company may be amendable to doing a transfer bond. In this transaction, the bondsman contacts a bail company of your choosing in your home state and arranges for them to secure your bail. Basically, the out-of-state bail company provides your home state bail company with all the relevant information about your case as well as signing the company up to a special type of policy through the out-of-state's bondsman insurance provider. Once the paperwork is complete and the fees paid, you will be released from jail.
Because of the additional paperwork and effort required to complete a transfer bond, you will be charged a higher fee based on what the law allows. In Florida, for example, the fee for a transfer bond is a maximum of $100, and this is in addition to the 10 percent bail bond fee you're normally charged for the service. It's important to note, too, that neither of these fees are refundable.
Out-of-state bail companies are typically willing to do transfer bonds because the responsibility for keeping track of the defendant falls on the bail bond company that accepts the transfer in the person's home state. Additionally, if the defendant fails to adhere to the terms of his or her release, it's the bondsman in the home state that has to deal with any bail forfeiture issues. Thus, it is a fairly risk-free way for the out-of-state company to help a non-resident defendant get out of jail.
The Bail Rules Still Apply
Although your bail bond was transferred to a company in your state, the rules still apply. You must show up for all your court appointments as well as adhere to any other conditions set by the court. If you fail to do so and the bail bond is forfeited as a result, you—or whoever signed the bail bond contract—will be required to repay the bail bond company for any money's lost.
So, be sure you fully understand what is required of you before you leave the state to return to your residence. Make sure the court has your current address so it can notify you of your court appointments and you can plan to travel to the state where your case is being tried when necessary. Don't be afraid to ask you attorney for assistance if you're not sure about something or need help with your case.
For more information about making bond when you're arrested out of state, contact a bail bond agency.