Bail is an interesting thing to read about. In one way, bail keeps those who are flight risks from missing their court trial. However, bail has an interesting way of changing the conversation. The “bail trap“, as NY Times journalist Nick Pinto called it, creates a situation where people must pay up or go to jail while they wait for their trial. So, how do people pay when they don’t have the money?
Well, they hire a bondsman. The bondsman is typically paid 10% of the bond on the promise that they will appear for their trial. If the 10% is too much, there are other things people can give up.
Bails can be paid using straight up cash. Bail bondsmen often take 10% of the bond money from the defendant, and something to ensure that they will show up. However, the 10% can be paid via the insurance item.
One thing people have used to pay bail is their property. This is often done via a land lien – or a document stating that the property is the bail, and the court has a legal right to foreclose it if the accused does not make their court date.
Depending on what kind people have, jewelry has been known to pay bail well. Gold jewelry with diamonds is often what they go for, especially when the value of gold is at a peak. It may take more than one piece of jewelry to scrape together the bail, but as long as they appear for court, they won’t lose the jewelry.
Should the defendant have a car, that could become the object of their bondsman’s document. A car in running condition that is fairly new can be worth the premium or at least part of it. However, this is a dangerous one to play with as it can be used against people when they do not show up.
A bank account can also be used to pay a premium if that is all someone can afford. Some or even all of the funds of a bank account, much like cash, can be used to pay bail. Like any other bail items, the defendant is at risk of loosing it if they do not show up for their trial.
If the defendant has a family member or friend in the area, they could potentially pay the bail, or the premium for the bondsman. However, if the defendant fails to show up, the person who paid will have to pay more – possibly causing them to lose their home, their car, or even their favorite jewelry if they cannot pay completely in cash.
Pawn shops open up an entirely new field of what can and cannot be able to help pay a bail premium, or bail itself. Books, televisions, gaming systems and the games that go with them, instruments, and many other things are all eligible to be pawned, or sold, for premium or bail money.
There are many different ways to pay bail, but it’s a tricky thing.