I just got arrested. Should I pay a bondsman so I can get out of jail?
There are lots of reasons not to post bond if you are arrested. For one, bonds are frequently amended once you appear in front of a judge. If you aren't a flight risk (meaning you live in the area and the charge is not murder, kidnapping or a serious sex crime), the prosecutor may agree to a recognizance bond, which means you promise to return to court but you don't post any money at all. You can also post a property bond if you own land, and if you attend court until your case is concluded, you lose nothing. If you post a $10,000 bond, you pay a bondsman $1,000.00 and you don't get that money back. Some courts in the area will take cash bonds for $1,500 or more that are paid directly to the court. Many attorneys will take your case if you agree to a bond assignment, meaning once the case is over the bond goes to pay attorney fees.
Another reason not to post bond is if money is tight, you are much better off spending money on an attorney. A bondsman can get you out of jail, but so can an attorney and he or she can represent you on the actual charge. I've seen many people spend several thousand dollars bonding out and then have no money left to hire an attorney. Don't make that mistake.
Most bonds in the 37th judicial circuit (Howell, Oregon, Shannon and Carter counties) are set at reasonable amounts - normally less than $10,000 on most felonies. Some counties set much higher bonds (Texas County), but those can be reduced as well once you hire an attorney and he can speak to the prosecuting attorney.
Finally, I know you don't want to spend the weekend in jail. And frequently people are picked up on Friday and an attorney can do nothing until the client is brought in front of the court - normally the following Monday. Most of the area jails aren't that bad (I've been to every single one of them, although I am there to visit clients and not for an extended stay). Most people are there for drug crimes and other non-violent offenses, so the chance of you being assaulted is small. And most jailers and jail staff are actually pretty nice people as long as you follow the rules. Trust me, a couple of days in jail is worth it if you can afford to hire a competent attorney later on.