The courts don't always clearly explain how the bail system works, so it's no surprise people get confused about the process. A common question folks have is whether getting a refund of the bail money they paid depends on defendants being found guilty or innocent. It does not, but there is a chance you still may not get your money back when the case ends. Here's what you need to know.
Bail Is a Guarantee
The purpose of bail is to motivate defendants to show up to their court appointments and adhere to the terms of their release. If they fail to appear without a valid excuse or break the rules (e.g., get rearrested), the court will forfeit bail and keep the money. The idea is that the defendant won't want to lose the thousands of dollars they had to put up to get out of jail, so they would be more likely to do what is required of them.
Thus, whether bail is returned to the payer hinges on the defendant following through with the case rather than the person's guilt or innocence. So, regardless of whether the defendant is convicted or set free, bail money will be refunded once the case concludes.
The Court May Still Take the Money
However, depending on the jurisdiction, sometimes the court will confiscate some of or all the bail money and apply it to any outstanding fees, fines, or debts the defendant owes. At minimum, some courts charge processing fees that are deducted from the refund and the balance returned to the payer. As unfair as this may sound, there is a very real possibility you won't get back all the money you paid to get yourself or your loved one out of jail.
If you don't want to risk this happening to you, the best thing you can do to avoid it is to use a bail bond service instead of paying cash to the court. Although a bondsman charges a non-refundable service fee to get someone out of jail, that's the only money you'll have to pay. It's better to take a loss of a couple hundred dollars than to have thousands seized by the court because of circumstances beyond your control.
To learn more about how bail bonds can help you save money or to get someone out of jail fast, contact a local arrest bail bond company for assistance.Share
9 September 2020
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