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In most cases there are two ways to secure somebody's release. (besides the two ways of posting bail, you may be eligible for "pre trial release" without posting bail. This will depend on things such as the severity of the offense, your ties to the community, previous criminal history etc) "Bail" (or "bond") is the amount of money the judge orders you to post inorder to be released from custody. (Very few offenses exist where you are not allowed to post bail and be released pending trial.) If you are able to afford the entire bail you may post it with the Sheriff's office in the jurisdiction where the family member is detained. Traditionally, the bail will be posted with cash. At the end of the case all the money will be returned [less court costs] to the person who posted the bail. Be sure that the bail receipt is not lost as it will complicate the return of your money.

A second way is to use the services of a bondsman. They will charge as their fee 10% of the face amount of the bail. This 10% is non-refundable. (so if the bail is $1000, and you give the bondsman $100, you will not get back the $100) Additionally, the entire bond amount must be secured by collateral equal to the bond to be posted. For example, a $1000 bond will cost the family $100.00 which is the 10%. But also, something of value equal to the $1000.00 must be given the bondsman as collateral to secure the total amount.

In the event the person who was out on bond flees the jurisdiction, or fails to attend his case, the cash bond may be forfeited. Or if a bondsman is involved, he will have to make good on the bond. So he will then either seek to liquidate your collateral or ask you to cover his payment of the bond amount.

In summary, at the end of the case, if you posted the entire amount of the bond with the Sherriff, the Sheriff's office will return all of the money posted, less court costs, to the person who posted the bond. If a bondsman was used, there will be no return of any money, and the collateral used to secure the bond amount will be returned, or paperwork will be filled out to cancel the security agreement.

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