I went to the jail to get my sister out and was told that I would need to post bail money. An attendant at the jail suggested that I go to a bail bonding agency, but I am not familiar with those places. She directed me down the street from the jail where there are a few. I really didn’t know what to do about it and they wanted a lot of money up front as a deposit so I had to come home and find the money. What can I do to get my sister out of jail if I don’t have any money?
You are in a tricky situation. It is understandable that because your sister is in jail, you want to be a good sister by bailing her out. However, you should not feel guilty if you do not have the money. A lot of friends and family members are put into the same situation as you and they truly have to struggle to come up with the money after their loved one has committed a crime.
With that being said, your feelings of obligation towards your sister are very common. You must recognize that your sister might not ever pay you back for the money that you put up in order to bail her out. Therefore, you will want to be sure that whatever money you are able to put up, you are okay with not having returned.
When people are in your situation (which is a common situation), they have two options: find the money, or refuse to pay for your sister’s bail. Here is some more information about how to handle each option:
Refuse to Pay
If you refuse to pay for your sister’s bail, understand that it may stress the relationship. Ideally, your sister will understand that she is the person that committed a crime and that it is up to her to handle her problem on her own. If you do not pay her down payment for bail and she is unable to tell you how to get money (from one of her bank accounts, for example), then your sister will stay in jail until her court date. This period of time can vary from days to months, depending on your locality and court system. However, if you are unable or unwilling to use your own many for her bail, remember that her problem is not your problem; she could just as easily provide you with access to her money to post the bail.
If your sister does not have money to post her own bail and is, therefore, asking you to post her bail for her, you may have to find the funds, if you are going to post her bail. The first thing you need to do is find out how much her bail will cost. A bonding agency will charge a ten percent down payment. For example, if your sister’s bail is $1,000, then the bail bonding agency will probably charge $100 from you.
If you do not have these funds, then you may be able to put up real property or a portion of real property as collateral. Real property includes things such as a car, boat, or a house. Be very careful if you are tempted to do this because if your sister fails to show up to court on her court date, you stand to lose a portion of that real property.