Movies and TV shows would have you believe that a person only gets one phone call after they've been arrested. This isn't actually true. When someone is arrested, they need help in a hurry (like assistance with bail), and it's not like they can always get help with only one phone call (especially if that first person they call doesn't answer). These phone calls can be made at any hour of the day or night, so what happens if you get a late-night call from a family member or friend to say they've been arrested and need help with bail?
It's Your Choice
It might sound harsh, but you need to remember that you're under no obligation to help the person in question. It depends on your personal relationship with them, but it might be that they just started calling people they know until someone picked up. It can be difficult, but you have the option to say no. You could also contact someone else who is closer to the person currently under arrest and allow that other person to take care of it. But sometimes you will want to help. So what can you do?
In order to actually be able to pay the person's bail, you will need some information. You must know the exact amount, which forms of payment are accepted, the full legal name of the person in custody, the exact reason for the arrest, and the booking number for the arrest. This information is necessary and is easy enough to find out (the person in custody can generally give you most, if not all of the information), but perhaps the most important question is whether you can afford the bail.
Informal Financial Help
Once you've decided to pay the bail, you might be able to cover the amount yourself. Alternatively, you can call other family and friends to see if they're able to help out, so a few different people contribute funds. You can also use a credit card, but you need to think carefully about whether you're willing to go into debt since you might not be getting the money back in a hurry.
Official Financial Help
When money is tight, you should call a company that provides 24/7 bail bonds. Since an arrest can happen at any time, these companies are open day and night. The funds are usually released immediately, but certain conditions must be met. Be sure to ask about the need for any type of surety or collateral, along with any fees. Once this process has been put into motion, the person in custody can usually be released quickly. Contact a 24/7 bail bonds service for more information.