Can you bail yourself out of jail with a credit card?

The difference between spending a night in jail and getting out on bail may depend on whether your wallet contains a credit card.



The short answer is Yes, you can bail yourself out with a credit card. But, there’s more to it. The difference between spending a night in jail and getting out on bail may depend on whether your wallet contains a credit card.

In an increasing number of jails across the United States, credit cards can be used to post bail. Though the bail bondsman industry hates it, the swipe-and-go option has many fans. Jail officials see it as a way to keep jails from being overcrowded by minor offenders. Cardholders gain the obvious benefit — escaping jail before the fingerprint ink dries. They can even earn rewards points for bailing out.

In Madison County, N.Y., where the program has been in operation for several years, Sheriff Ronald Cary lauds credit card bailouts as a benefit to arrestees. “If they have a credit card and it meets the criteria, they can get out of jail,” he says. “Not everybody deserves to be in jail and it allows us to get them out earlier.”

It usually works like this: Defendants, family members or friends swipe their plastic through a reader. The bail is paid, with a fee assessed on top of the bond amount. A key turns. The prisoner walks.

To the legal system, it’s just like any other bail payment: When the bailee shows up in court, the bailer gets his or her money back, less the fee. Warrants are issued for those who don’t show up.

Let’s say you can’t easily write a check for the amount of bail, nor is your credit limit high enough to put it on a credit card (assuming they permit payments by credit card). Your next stop is a bail bond agency. There will be one or more near the jail. In general, they will post bail for you, for a fee of about 10% of the bail amount. (So a $10,000 bail would cost you $1,000.) Most likely, you can put that amount on your credit card.

The fact that a person is in jail is only the beginning of the process. Selecting 2Guns Bail Bonds is an important first step. With years of experience in our office, we most definitely will have the right answer for you.


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