If you have learned a friend or family member has been arrested and taken to the El Centro jail, the first thing that comes to mind may be “How can I afford this bail?” Most people have never needed to bail someone out of jail before and they want to make sure they can get the best deal on a bond. What they don’t know is that arranging bail is not like buying a car or a kitchen appliance. Bail is not negotiable.
Bail is a regulated industry and the California Department of Insurance, not individual bondsmen, is the agency that sets the rate at which bail bonds can be sold. That rate is 10%. This means if someone’s bail has been set at $20,000 you can expect to pay $2,000 to purchase a bond.
There are some bondsmen who resort to deceptive marketing and advertising in order to get clients through the door. They might have signage that offers the “cheapest bail bonds in town” or offers “5% discount bail bonds”. In all reality customers soon learn the discount, 5% rate is what they would need to put down in order to move forward with a payment plan. They quickly find out the advertisement was not entirely accurate, and they instead fell victim to a bait-and-switch marketing tactic.
If the bondsman is offering to sell you discount bail bonds this person is breaking the law. It is illegal to sell bail bail bonds for more or less than the legal rate. If this person is breaking the law to get your business on the front end, can you be sure they will uphold the law on the back end? Buying discount bail bonds can save you money up front but could wind up costing you far more in the long run.