To call being arrested a stressful experience would be a gross understatement. When someone is taken into custody, it can turn their entire world upside down and make them feel stranded without a paddle. Getting in touch with a reliable bail bondsman can be an effective way to provide a detained individual with peace of mind and help them come to grips with their situation. However, as anyone who’s worked in law enforcement can attest, not all bail bondsmen are equally obliging. The next time you or someone you care about is in need of a bondsman, keep an eye out for the following qualities.

1. Fully Licensed

Any bail bondsman you get involved with should be fully licensed, insured and bonded in your state. In the absence of these qualities, a bondsman cannot reliably operate a business of this nature. Furthermore, since bondsmen are required by law to be licensed in their respective states, working with an unlicensed bondsman may place you in some murky water legally. With this in mind, confirm that any bail bondsman with whom you do business possesses the necessary licenses before signing on the dotted line. Even if a bondsman appears to be perfectly nice and reliable, being unlicensed should serve as a huge red flag.

2. Full Transparency

When enlisting the services of a bail bondsman, transparency and trust are vitally important. For starters, this means being upfront about all costs. Some bondsmen include confusing fine print in their agreements, which often leads to clients being charged substantially more than what they expected. Any bondsman you place your trust in should provide clearly-outlined, fully transparent agreements and abstain from charging hidden fees. It’s also important for clients to carefully review bond agreements before signing. While wanting to get yourself or a loved one out of jail ASAP is certainly understandable, signing an agreement you don’t fully understand can have a host undesirable consequences.

3. Sympathetic to Your Needs

When shopping around for the right bondsman, you’re likely to encounter individuals who come across as rude, condescending and thoroughly unsympathetic to your situation. It’s no secret that an arrest can be physically exhausting and emotionally draining, and there’s no reason you should give your business to a bondsman who’s completely numb to your needs and expectations. As such, limit your options to bondsmen who won’t belittle or attempt to minimize your plight. Arranging bail for yourself or a loved one is immensely stressful – and working with an unsympathetic bondsman will only make the situation even more strenuous and taxing.

No matter how brave someone is, they’re bound to find getting arrested to be a tremendously frightening experience. After being taken into custody, many people have no idea what their next step should be. This is where a dependable bail bondsman enters the equation. The right bondsman can help a detained individual post bail in a timely manner, enabling them to reunite with loved ones and begin mounting a defense.