Written by our Subject Matter Experts, on Sept. 21, 2019
Learn how to bail someone out of jail from another state. Our expertly written guide will help you understand how you can use a bail bondsman to work across state lines via transfer bonds and other means to ensure your loved one is bailed out quickly even if they were arrested in a different state from where you live.
Out of state bail bonds are common, and can be handled quickly by enacting the service of a local bail bondsman who is near the jail of the arrested person. The key is understanding local laws and bail processes so the arrested person can be released quickly from jail.
Arrested in Another State – Bailing Them Out
Bailing someone out is a complicated process, and it only gets more complicated when it comes to out-of-state arrests. As an example, imagine your son or daughter being arrested in Nevada, while you actually live in Texas. The arrested person will only have limited time and access to the jail phone, so you might be their only resource who can properly research out-of-state bondsmen and processes to get them released quickly.
Know The Out of State Bail Bonds Process
One of the most important parts in bailing someone out from another state is knowing the bail process and procedure of the state in which the arrest occurred. Since each state has its own rules and processes in how they handle bail, you might not have the same bail options to release your loved one in Nevada as you would in your local jurisdiction of Texas.
For example, in Texas, licenses are granted by the board for practicing bail bond sureties. Meanwhile, in Nevada, bail can be posted by any person, which results in completely different procedures in how the arrested person can be released, and who actually can release the person from jail in another state.
Finding the laws and out of state bail process is not easy but it’s doable. You can start by looking up the state where your loved one is contained, find their official county page, and look for the laws they have posted regarding jail release. Some of the laws can be hard to understand. This is why it’s easier to contact the county jail holding your loved one and talk to them directly. The county jail can share information on what you must do from out of state to release your loved one. Local bondsmen in the county where the arrest occurred can also assist with the relevant county-based laws and processes. Bondsmen are more than happy to earn your business and will be able to explain state and county laws.
You can find a local bondsman via the search form below – simply enter the city and state where the person is arrested (not your location).
Use Local Bail Bondsman or Out of State Bondsman Where Arrest Occurred?
Important: Should you work with the local bail bondsman in the state where the arrest occurred, or with a bondsman near your location (even if it’s out of state from where the arrest occurred)? The answer is you should almost always work with a bail bondsman near your location and not a bondsman in the county where the arrest occurred (out of state). In fact, most bail bond companies are hesitant to work with an out-of-state client directly because there is a higher chance that the person on bail will fail to show up for his or her court hearings.
Since bail bonds companies are responsible for the full amount of the bail bond, and not just the 10% premium, a no-show will not only result in a warrant for that defendant’s arrest, but it will also mean that the bail bond company could potentially lose a lot of money. This is why most out-of-state bondsmen will not take your business directly and prefer you to work with your local bondsman. In some cases, the out-of-state bondsman will take on your case if your financials are in a good place and the arrested person is a low flight-risk and has a limited criminal history. Any felony or high-risk situations will likely not be taken on, and out of state bondsmen will prefer to work in tandem with your local bondsman via a transfer bond (more on that later).
Some people might consider traveling out of state to handle the bailout directly, however, bailing someone out directly requires a lot of paperwork. This paperwork goes towards verifying your identity and making sure that you’re in a stable financial position to cover the full bail amount. In most cases, using a local bondsman is your best choice.
Use Your Local Bondsman to Handle Multi-State Bail
Our recommended option to bail out someone who is arrested in a different state is to simply use your local bondsman. This means using a bondsman from the state where you are located in, and not the state or county where the out of state arrest occurred. The local bondsman can handle the entire process for you – they can brush you up on the state laws, tell you which county jail the person is being held in, the charges they’re facing, and even how much it will cost to bail them out from out of state.
After hiring your nearby bail bondsman, most of the time, the bondsman will take one of two actions to bail out your loved one from another state:
- The bondsman will cross state lines and finalize the release of the arrested person, or
- The bondsman will use a transfer bond through another agent working in the area where your loved one is being held.
Most bondsmen prefer to use the second option involving a transfer bond because it limits some of the expenses involved with out of state travel - flying, finding a hotel, and doing the bailing process themselves. If the bondsman decides to handle the bailout directly, then travel fees are charged to the client.
Why should I use a nearby local bail bondsman for an out of state bond?
Bail bond companies are hesitant to work with clients from out of state due to the increased risks involved. A local bail bondsman can meet with you face to face and develop a better relationship with you and your family.
Another major reason is due to collateral laws. If your loved one has a $50,000 bond in another state, the bail bonding company will want you to provide some collateral on the bond. In cases like this, many people will look towards a family member with a home or other real estate for collateral. A local bail bondsman can meet with you and have you sign the necessary paperwork, such as a “deed of trust,” that will protect the bondsman from any losses should the defendant fail to appear for court. If the defendant fails to appear, the local bondsman can go through court proceedings in the local jurisdiction to force the sale of the property if necessary.
For an out of state bail bond company, this process would be much harder due to them being located in one state and your property being located in another state. The laws governing collateral may be completely different in your state than from the state that bail bonding company is located, and rather than take the risk they will most likely point you towards a local bondsman near you.
Transfer bonds are the popular option whenever you’re looking to bail someone out from another state. This is more financially secure on your end and it’s a cooperative effort between two bail bonds companies.
Your local bail bondsman will contact another bail agent that operates within the county where the arrest took place. Together, the two bondsmen will work to get the person out of jail.
The bail agent near the county jail is more likely to accept the transfer bond offer because the financial responsibility lies on the other bondsman near you who requested the bond support initially. It’s also a win for your local bondsman, despite taking on the financial responsibility, because they get the expertise of the out-of-state bail agent to handle the release and local procedures. There is financial gain for both parties due to additional fees charged to the client for the transfer bond.
Transfer Bond Fee
When posting an out-of-state bail bond, it is important to remember that there may be additional costs accrued by the bail bondsman and therefore passed on to the client.
When a bail bondsman posts a transfer bond, he is essentially acting as an intermediary between a local client and a bail bondsman in another state. The local bail bondsman will pay a fee to the out-of-state bail bondsman in return for the out-of-state bondsman physically going to the jail and posting the bond.
However, once the bond is posted, it is transferred to the local bail bondsman. This means that all responsibilities associated with the bond are transferred to the local bondsman as well. The transfer fee is paid just for posting the bond and is different than the bail bond premium, which is the percentage a bail bondsman charges for taking on the risk associated with the bond.
Therefore, when posting a transfer bond, you should be prepared to pay the 10-15% bail bond premium plus an additional transfer fee. A transfer fee could be as small as $50-100 or it could be several hundred dollars, depending on the size of the bond and other factors.
What Should I Do If My Loved One is Detained in Illinois, Wisconsin, Kentucky, or Oregon?
Transfer bonds are not an option in every state. If the person is detained in Illinois, Wisconsin, Kentucky, or Oregon, you will not be able to hire a bondsman to help you. These states prohibit private, for-profit bail, which means no commercial bail bondsmen can operate in the state. In the event someone is arrested out of state in IL, WI, KY, or OR, you will need to work directly with the jail and court system to bail them out yourself.
Since you need to personally be involved in bailing out the arrested person in one of these states, you should be prepared for a longer process in getting the person released from jail. Even with defense attorney representation, it can take a long time to finalize the release process, so please make sure you prepare yourself for an extended trip.
The first thing to do is to post bail at the county jail. In these states, the best option is cash bail. Out-of-state bail can be very expensive – be prepared for higher fees in addition to the bail amount set.
Next, hire an in-state defense attorney, one who is familiar with the local laws and customs that occur on an everyday basis. For most misdemeanors, the defense attorney can handle the case for you. The closer an attorney’s office is to the court, the more familiar the attorney will likely be with local procedures, customs, and even contacts to speed up the process. As a general rule, attorneys more than a 1-hour drive from the courthouse are not “local” and may charge you a premium to account for travel time to-and-from the courthouse.
Furthermore, if you retain a lawyer in that state, you might not have to appear in court, especially for petty crimes. In the event of a felony, the situation is different and the defendant will be required to appear for all court dates.
To be safe, the defendant should be prepared to stay in the state until the trial is over. Once that happens, the bail amount will be refunded and the defendant will be free to go. If the defendant leaves the state and is unable to make an appearance urgently, a judge could issue a warrant for his arrest and forfeit the bail, leading to more trouble.
The overall process in Illinois, Kentucky, Wisconsin, and Oregon is not more complicated than the other states. It is just more tedious because you do not have access to a bondsman or a bail bond company that can help manage the entire process for you.
Important Things to Consider When Bailing Someone Out From Another State
Posting a bail bond is only the first step of the process when securing a defendant’s release from jail. Once a defendant is out on bond, they have an ongoing responsibility to be of good behavior and to return to all their court dates.
Make sure you understand how judicial proceedings work in the state where the bond has been posted. Oftentimes, different states have different names for lower courts and appellate courts. In Virginia, the lower court is called “General District Court,” however in Pennsylvania, it is called “Magisterial Court.”
It is critical that you understand how court proceedings are handled in the state in which you must return for trial. Ask your lawyer for a quick refresher if you forget, and be sure to know how to appeal the decision if you should need to. One state may require you to give a notice for appeal within 10 days of the lower court’s verdict, whereas another state may have a completely different deadline.
You should also work out all of your travel arrangements in advance of your court date, and always have a back-up plan. If you plan on driving your car 8-hours to another state for a court date, make sure you have an alternate option if your car should break down before then. Out-of-state bail bonds are considered risky by bail bondsmen, so the first sign of trouble could result in the bondsman revoking a bond.
Lastly, stay in communication with your local bail bondsman. As stated above, out-of-state bail bonds can also be stressful for the bail bonding company. To make sure all parties are on the same page, stay in communication with your bondsman and keep his or her phone number or business card handy. If any trouble arises, it is always best to get in touch with the bail bondsman and let them know yourself. Bail bondsmen are regular people like everyone else, and understand things can happen. A bondsman would much rather hear about a slip-up from you than hear it first from a judge, clerk of court, or sheriff’s deputy!
Key Takeaway on How To Bail Someone Out Of Jail If You Live Out Of State?
- You can bail out someone in another state by talking with your local bondsman – that’s the bondman in your state, and not the state where the person is detained.
- Some bondsmen will handle the out-of-state bail themselves by traveling to the other state, but it’s more likely that your local bondsman will use a transfer bond instead.
- Be prepared to pay an additional $50-100 transfer fee in addition to the usual 10-15% bail premium.
- If you live in a state where for-profit bail is not allowed, be prepared to have a good understanding of state bail laws and procedures. Hire an attorney that’s close to the county jail and courthouse, and they will be able to guide the defendant through the entire process.
- Since bail bonds across state lines tend to be more complex, while carrying more liability and risk for all parties involved, ensure you stay in frequent communication with your local bail bondsman to avoid any issues.
- Add buffer time and backup plans for travel back to the originating state for court dates – avoid issues that could cause a missed court date as bail can be revoked quickly, which would place the person back in jail.
A bounty hunter is hired by a bail bondsman to locate and arrest a person who does not show to court as agreed in their bail bond agreement. Bounty hunters are sometimes referred to as bail recovery agents.
Our Team of Subject Matter Experts
We dedicate ourselves to providing information that is accurate and expertly written in order to assist individuals through a difficult time. Our staff at Bail Bonds Network is highly educated, having obtained prestigious degrees in law, business, accounting, and finance. Our editorial staff includes professional lawyers, bail bondsmen, and lending experts who understand local jurisdictions and intricacies of legal matters dealing with bail bonds.