Going to jail—whether as a first time offender or charged with a serious offense—is always especially taxing on our clients. But it’s also trying for their families and friends. Knowing how to get someone out of custody is a discreet skill set, and one that varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. Doing a little research before trying to bond someone out of jail will generally make the process go faster. The Colorado Laywer Team always recommends “internet stalking” the particular county facility to determine bond procedures and calling ahead to the jail when in doubt.
In this section, we’ll go over the following legal DIY topics:
- Finding a bondsman,
- Visitation and phone calls
- How to reduce or afford bond
Finding a Bondsman
Bondsmen are regulated by the Department of Regulatory Affairs. That means they have to have a license in order to operate as a legal bail bondsman. There’s usually a directory and, of course, they advertise on Google. Sometimes it’s helpful to have one bondsmen post a bond for multiple cases because a lot of times you’ll need the consent of your bonds in for things like out-of-state travel. You may also need consent of your Bondsman to carry over the bond that is in your case if you plead guilty and then are set for sentencing on a second date. Technically once you plead guilty, your bond is forfeit and they get their money back. But if you are still being sentenced and awaiting sentencing, the judges wants you to stay on that bond. The bondsmen have to acknowledge and accept that risk before you’ll be allowed to stay out of custody after you’ve plead guilty. But before being sentenced, bondsmen are typically easily contacted. Look for one that has both email and phone contact, and it’s not a bad idea to provide bondsman information to any attorney that you may get in the long run as well. For help locating of a bondsman, you can certainly ask one of our seasoned attorneys.
Visitation and Phone Calls
Visitation in jails is difficult in the best of times, but it is even more difficult during COVID. Essentially, what has happened with many of our jails is that any sort of visitation system has been suspended during government-mandated shutdowns visitation options used to include in-person visitation through two-way glass, where even in less secure situations in a conference room, other options included video. In some jails, you can even send an IM to an inmate. And of course, phone visits are an option as well. Generally speaking, private visitation must be scheduled in advance with the jail, through their internal system, especially for video and phone communication. Appointments for in-person visits may or may not be necessary. We recommend you call the facilities directly involved. If you are unsure which facility your loved one is in, we recommend you start calling the county jails that are closest to you. Each jail facility has a different way to search inmates. Most allow you to search online based on inmate last name, while others you will have to call and ask. If your loved one is in the Department of Corrections, you can use the Department of Corrections Inmate Locator tool, linked here.
What can you do to help reduce the bond set in any cases on the outside? What can your in custody loved one do to reduce bond on the inside? Sometimes there’s not much that can be done to reduce the bond, but other times, sometimes courts need to see pro-social factors, steadied employment, a job lined up from once they’ve been released from custody, support of family and friends, and significant change. In terms of what you can do in custody to reduce the bond, that may mean something like getting your GED while you’re in custody, taking anger management classes while in custody, or otherwise taking personal betterment initiatives. In some cases, we’ve even had clients write essays.
Of course, it’s always difficult when you have to decide whether you’re going to pay for an attorney for a loved one who’s in custody or help them get out of custody. Often our legal fees are just as much as bond. The decision is made even more difficult because of the fact that most in-custody defendants qualified for a public defender simply because they are in custody. In many cases, we’ve heard from our clients and their families that they’re dissatisfied with the advice or representation at the public defender’s office. Although public defenders are good attorneys, they are often overworked have huge caseloads and regularly through regularly moved divisions, meaning there’s not always consistency. And sometimes there is complete luck of the draw as far as what attorney you’re going to get. Because of this and many other reasons, it may be advisable to get a private attorney, but affording a private attorney and affording bond can be insurmountable. That’s why we’re proud to offer financing options here at Colorado Lawyer Team.