Cleveland Scene provides an interesting look at the bail process — something I think a lot of people don’t have any experience with — and an organization that pays bail for individuals who cannot afford it. I didn’t realize bond had fees. Which is, I admit, because I’ve spent more time watching some guy on A&E chase down fugitives than I’ve spent thinking about the bail bond business model. I’ve bailed a few friends out – it’s been years, but I think I had to swing by the bank and get actual cash instead of a cheque. But that’s the sum of my experience — friend did something silly and illegal, spent a few hours between the courthouse and jail, and I swung by with cash. They go to the trial, get their fine / community service assigned, and the gov’t posts me a cheque.
Now, I realize bail bond providers are operating a business. And there’s no way that my model where I hand over a grand and get a grand back six weeks later is a valid business model. But it’s always been in my head that bond is like 10% of the bail, so for a 5k bail, you temporarily need to come up with 500$. You need to come up with 500$ today, which may not be possible. But you also get back 90-95% of that five hundred bucks. And that’s how the bail bondsman earns money.