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How to Post Bail

The bad news is you've been arrested. The good news is bail has been set. Now you just have to get the money.


  • Step 1: Attend your hearing After being arrested and charged with a crime, you will have a hearing before a judge to set bail. This is the amount of money you must give the court to ensure that you will show up on your scheduled court date.
  • TIP: The bail money will be returned to you, minus court fees, after your case is settled.
  • Step 2: Pay in full If you have the full amount of bail in cash, pay this money to the court and you will be released from jail.
  • TIP: Paying cash is the cheapest way of posting bail.
  • Step 3: Contact a bail bondsman If you can't raise the cash, contact a bail bondsman. Information for licensed bondsmen is usually posted in jail. You can also ask a friend or relative to find you a bail bondsman.
  • Step 4: Pay bail bondsman The bondsman will typically charge you 10 percent of your bail, and then will pay the full amount to the court. In addition, the bondsman may require that you put up some form of collateral, like jewelry, a car, or other property.
  • TIP: The money you pay the bail bondsman is a payment. You won't get any of it back.
  • Step 5: Can't afford 10 percent of the bail If you can't afford 10 percent of your bail, but you have a decent credit history, look for a bondsman who will accept a payment plan.
  • TIP: A friend or relative may have to co-sign, pledging their own property.
  • Step 6: Show up for your court date You will be notified of a court date for your trial. Do not miss the date. If you do, you will lose your bail money and the court will issue a warrant for your arrest, with additional charges likely.
  • FACT: In 2009, the crime show Law and Order entered its 20th season, making it the longest-running primetime drama in American history.

You Will Need

  • Cash
  • Friend or relative (optional)
  • Collateral (optional)

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