Printed for personal use only

I got my new AAA card and noticed they don’t offer a bond service anymore. What if I get arrested?

Illustration by Bill Brown

Most of us use the Auto Club card for late-night tow-truck adventures or discounts at El Torito, but that little piece of plastic can also open a cell door. This little-known pokey perk, worth $1,500 toward a traffic arrest bond, dates back to the era when small-town sheriffs required offenders to pay fines on the spot or risk being hauled to jail until they came up with the cash. The club still offers the benefit in some states, but the practice is extinct in California.