There are many good bail bonding companies in West Alabama. Most have their business cards at the County Jail. You can find bonding agents in the phonebook, and a lot of times, they will simply speak with you at the jail if they are present when you are booked in.
If you pay a bail bonds person you WILL NOT get ANY money back if your case is dismissed or you win at trial. The Bail Bonding companies are guaranteeing your appearance in Court and you are paying them to "cover" your bond so you do not have to come up with 100% of it in cash (normally you pay about15% of your bond to the company depending on the charge(s) or amount of bond).
If you pay your bond with CASH at the jail and you are convicted, the "bond" automatically goes to your court costs and fines. If your case is dismissed or you win at trial then you would receive 100% of your bond payment, as the Court will send you check for the total amount of your bond. If your bond is $1500 or less and you or someone else can pay it, you might be better off paying CASH.
Please note that if you are "bonding out" a friend, YOUR cash bond becomes their "property" and will be either (1) applied to THEIR court costs and fines or (2) returned to THEM by check. You might not get your money back depending on how good a "friend" they are (just a thought you might want to entertain).
If you do not have a lot of CASH, then bail bonding would be the way to go.