LEGAL GUIDE
Written by attorney Michael Lai Howard | May 31, 2011

Bond vs. Lawyer: Should I Bond My Loved One Out of Jail or Hire them a Lawyer?

If your loved one is in jail and your financial resources are limited, you may be forced with a difficult decision: should you spend your limited financial resources on bonding your loved one out of jail or should you leave them in jail and instead hire them a good lawyer? Obviously if you have enough money to do both you should do both, but if finances are limited, how do you know which is the best decision?

Obviously if your loved one is in jail they don't want to be there. They may tell you that they need out of jail as quickly as possible, that it should be your number one priority. If you get them out of jail, however, and they cannot afford a lawyer, they're going to be stuck with a court appointed lawyer. This legal guide is not attacking or disparaging court-appointed lawyers. Some of the very best lawyers take court appointments. However, so do some of the very worst lawyers. The problem is that you may not know whether you should trust your lawyer. And if you decide that you cannot trust him/her, you are unlikely to be able to persuade the court to give you a different lawyer. It is usually best if you can hire your own lawyer by meeting with several lawyers, asking questions and getting a feel for who fits best for your particular situation.

This can be a very difficult decision, but especially if your loved one is charged with a serious crime, it is arguably the most important decision you can make. Think it through carefully and take a thorough look at your finances. If you have only enough money to hire a good lawyer or get your loved one out of jail, you should seriously consider spending your money on the lawyer. If you do, ask them to file a motion with the court to ask for the bond amount to be lowered. You may be able to get both the lawyer retained and your loved one out of jail - but probably only if you spend your money on the lawyer.

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