California made news in August 2018 when it ended the cash bail system and pledged to adopt a "risk-based assessment" system. This change does not affect other states, however, and if your relative is now stuck and awaiting someone to post bail -- but you don't have a lot of cash or real estate to hand over -- you may be wondering how to break the bad news. You may not have to do that. It is possible to get something called a signature bond.
What a Signature Bond Is
A signature bond is a bail bond that basically rests on a signature and your good character and credit, among other factors. You don't put down any collateral, but you do assume responsibility for the bond should any court dates be skipped. A signature bond acknowledges that the bail bond company has enough faith in you based on history to assume you're good for the amount or that the jailed person will actually show up. Different states and different companies may have slightly different requirements; for example, one company may issue the signature bond based on several factors, while another may issue the signature bond based on those factors and require a co-signer.
What Is It Based on and Why
Signature bonds are based on credit, establishment in the area (are you a long-time resident or someone passing through), how bad the crime was, income, prior histories, and more. It sounds like a lot, but there is a point to looking at all this: The bail bond company wants to know who they're dealing with. They are not going to want to issue tens of thousands of dollars in bail to someone who has a long jail record, who has a known record of skipping bail, and who is accused of felony assault. They may be more willing to issue that money to someone who has never been in trouble before, is accused of a lesser crime, and who has a stable income.
Who Can Get These (Assuming They Meet the Other Requirements)?
You can get these whether you're the family member or friend of the accused, or even the accused themselves. (If you're the accused, you may need a co-signer.) The real question is, is there someone who qualifies who is willing to take on the risk of paying all that bail and who is going to be sure the accused shows up in court.
Do not give up if you don't have cash or property. Bail bond companies set up signature bonds specifically to help people who don't have material support to stay out of jail while awaiting a court date.
To learn more, contact a local bonds company or go to this web-site.