Written by Subject Matter Experts, Updated on Sept. 21, 2019
Hot Questions – Getting Money Back from Bail Bondsman, and Bail Money Refunds!
Do you get bail money back? Is Bail Money Refundable?
Yes, you can normally get your bail money back no matter if you are convicted or acquitted of your charges. This applies if you pay for the entire bail and do not use a bail bond. If you get a bail bond, the bondsmen will get their full amount back, but you can not get back the 10% premium that is charged – this amount is non-refundable.
You may wonder if you get your bail money back if the charges are dropped, you are innocent, or if your case is dismissed – the same answer applies. If you pay using your own money, you will get the full amount back no matter if you are guilty or innocent – the refund is based on you showing up to court. If you used a bail bondsman, you cannot get your 10% fee back no matter if you are guilty or not, or if you showed up to court. The bail premium, or 10% bail fee, is not refundable.
Can I get my 10% bail fee back?
No. This is the service fee the bail agency charges; it is called the Premium. Bail bondsmen take on risk and have to do a variety of things to make this work. The 10% fee is simply a way for them to stay in business. It can not be refunded but there are still ways to get bailed out without a 10% bail bond.
The 10% premium is the fee the bail bondsman charges for risking his own money to bail you out of jail. Just like the premium you pay on your car insurance policy, it is not refunded if you don’t wreck your car. A bail bond is a form of insurance that is used to guarantee the appearance of a defendant in a criminal court proceeding. In fact, in many states, bail bondsmen are regulated by the state’s insurance commission.
While it is impossible to guarantee bail in states where bond is set by a judge or magistrate, in most cases, you will have the opportunity to bail yourself out of jail. The Eighth Amendment to the United States Constitution guarantees one’s right to bail and says that the bail amount shall not be excessive (or too high). It states “Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.”
Because of the Eighth Amendment and the judicial principal that a person is “innocent until proven guilty”, most states believe that a person should be given a right to bail unless certain exceptions apply. For example, in Virginia there is a statutory presumption that a person should be released from jail pending trial unless certain criteria make that person exempt. The criteria that would make a suspect exempt from the presumption for bail include the defendant being a clear and present danger to the victim or community, a flight risk, or has committed certain crimes laid out by that state.
- 80% of jailed New Yorkers can’t afford $1,000 in bail on small misdemeanor chargers.
- Those who can’t obtain a bail bond are 90% likely to plead guilty.
- Only 40% plead guilty if they can afford a bail bond.
- Those that can’t afford a bail bond spend an average of 15 days in jail.
- With a bail bond, 88% get their case dismissed or resolved without a criminal record.
- Only 38% see their case dismissed or resolved with no record if they can’t afford the bail bond.
To see more information and a nice visual, take a look at our Bail Bonds Infographic with Data and Statistics.
Bail Recovery Agents are legally allowed to track down their “clients” in order to ensure they appear in court. Due to an 1873 U.S. Supreme Court decision, bail bondsmen and their agents have sweeping rights over the person they have bonded from jail. The case, Taylor v. Taintor, is widely credited as establishing the legal precedent behind much of a bail bondsman’s authority over the suspect.
By calling a bail bondsman ahead of time and letting them know you are about to turn yourself in, the bondsman can go ahead and collect the necessary information and paperwork to secure your release on a bail bond. This means that the bail bondsman can start posting your bond immediately after you turn yourself in and are booked into the jail. A good bail bondsman can ensure you are released before you ever have to enter the general population area of the jail or holding facility, if you alert the bondsman before your surrender.
Another key reason to use a bail bondsman is due to the length of time many court cases take before being adjudicated. A court case for something as simple as a DUI can take up to 1 or even 2 years in some cases. Many people may have the money to post their own bail, but don’t want to have that money tied up for an unknown period of time. Instead, you can pay a fraction of the total bail amount to the bail bondsman and save the remaining money for an emergency.
If the person skips court, the money is forfeited and the court gets to keep the amount. The money is usually distributed to the court and law enforcement agencies depending on how the local regulations are written. In some cases, a case can be filed to obtain the money that was forfeited.
It will take you roughly half a day to process the property bond and to get the necessary paperwork into the judge’s hands. From there, it depends on the judge how long it takes to approve the property bond. We recommend starting no later than 12 PM (noon) if you want to finish your portion of the paperwork for a property bond in the same day.
There are multiple steps involved for a property bond. First, you will want to go to the Assessor’s Office which is typically at City Hall and obtain an Assessment Certificate for the property you want to use for the bail bond. Check with the Sheriff or Court Clerk on exact steps. You will be issued a Mortgage Certificate and Conveyance Certificate for your property. Necessary paperwork will then be prepared for you by the Court if you have enough property equity. It will then be presented to the judge to consider for bail release. No promises can be made as to how long it will take the judge to make the decision and process the property bond.
- Ask a friend or loved one to borrow the money to cover the fee. This can present it’s own problems if you are unable to pay them back.
- Look into bail funds to sponsor you and cover your 10% bail bond fee at no charge. Charitable bail funds are limited to certain states although more are introduced on a regular basis due to the sheer need. Visit our page on bail reform for a list of charities that you can reach out to and to learn more about the growing pain and need for bail bond changes so nobody is left behind.
- Obtain a loan to cover you in the short term and allow you to make payments. Our page on bail bond financing and emergency loans will guide you through the application process.
Although it covers the LA market, we go into topics that cover all situations, like how you can negotiate with your bail bondsman to get the best rate, as well as the type of questions the bail bonds agent will ask you in order to determine if you qualify for a 0% to 3% Down payment. Some of the things that go into consideration are criminal history and flight risk of the person being bailed out, your financial strength, any property assets you may have, and more.