24-Hour Bail Bonds – Anytime, Any Jail – Serving all of SC

Call us now at (843) 554-2005

24-Hour Bail Bonds – Anytime, Any Jail – Serving all of SC

Call us now at (843) 554-2005

Inmate Search Dos and Don’ts

If one of your friends or family members gets arrested the first thing that will pop into your head is “I’ve got to get them out!” Those are your survival instincts kicking in. Put simply, you want to take care of the people you care about. But before you hop in the car and start your inmate search you should know a couple of dos and don’ts of the search process. These are based on our work with clients over the last 30 years and our knowledge of the legal and law enforcement processes.

Let’s get right into it. Here’s what you should do and what you should not do when you need to get someone out of jail and are starting your inmate search:

Don’t: Drive directly to the jail

Driving directly to jail is the most common mistake we see during an inmate search so we are listing it first. The worst thing you can do is hop in your car and head down to the jail. If you just show up at the jail without doing any inmate research not only will you end up costing yourself more time but you’ll slow the bail process down for others as well.

That leads us to the first do:

Do: Some basic research

When you find out someone has been arrested you will likely want to take action quickly. That’s why so many people end up driving to their local jail before doing any research. It’s really important to take a few breaths and gather all of the information you can first. We recommend getting out a piece of paper and writing down all of the information that you know. At the very least you’ll need the offender’s full name. Make sure you have their name spelled correctly as this can cause unnecessary confusion.

While their full name is usually enough to locate them, we recommend you gather as much information as possible before you start your inmate search. Make a few phone calls to anyone who may have more information and try to collect some of the following info:

  • The person’s date of birth (or at least age)
  • Date and time of the arrest
  • The address or general location (ex: corner of Rivers and Remount) of the arrest
  • The crime and/or charges they were arrested for

Once you have as much of that information as possible you can start you inmate search.

Don’t: Assume their location

Even if you live in a rural area or a smaller city you should never assume that someone is being held at a specific detention facility. Even the smallest cities can be serviced by several detention centers depending on where the person was arrested. You need to be aware of county lines and law enforcement jurisdictions.

Do:  Use an online inmate search

Online inmate search - Charleston, SC

Example of an online inmate search form

We always recommend starting your inmate search online. Most detention centers have an inmate search tool that you can use to see whether someone is being held at that facility. All you need to use these search tools is the person’s name. Additional information like date of birth and booking date can help speed up the process. One thing to note is that these databases aren’t updated immediately. If the person was recently arrested it may take a few hours for them to show up in the inmate search results.

To see if your local detention centers have an inmate search tool check out the detention center listings on our Sinkler Bail Bonds location pages or do a quick Google search.

Don’t: Forget to call to verify

If you were able to locate the defendant with one of the online inmate search tools then it’s still a good idea to hop on the phone and verify the information. Calling the detention center also has the added benefit of getting additional helpful information. The detention center employees will be able to answer some basic questions for you. They may also be able to give you an estimated bond hearing time as well as an estimated bond amount.

Do: Take advantage of an experienced bondsman

We are a little biased but we think the best thing you can do when someone you know gets arrested is to call a bail bondsman. Even if you plan to post the bail yourself, a bonding agent’s experience with the local legal process is invaluable. It can make your inmate search a lot less stressful. Any bail bondsman worth his salt will be more than happy to help you locate a defendant. They will also give you lots of free advice on what steps you should take next.

Conclusion: Do your research and don’t rush

All of the dos and don’ts of an inmate search boil down to two things: do your research and don’t rush the process. Take your time and gather as much information as possible. It may be smart to go ahead and start researching the bail bond process if you are unfamiliar with that so you can be prepared for what comes after the inmate search.

If you have any questions or need help locating an inmate we’d be happy to help. Give us a call at (843) 554-2005 and we’ll get your inmate search started.

Sometimes good people make bad decisions