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Do You Get Your Bail Money Back?

Paying the bail for a friend or loved one can often be an overwhelming and unexpected expense – but it’s not always permanent. Read below to learn about the different types of bail, and how to ensure that you get all your money back.
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C.L. Mike Schmidt Published by C.L. Mike Schmidt

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What are the Different Types of Bail?

  • Surety Bond - Bond posted by a bail bond company to the court as a guarantee for an arrestee's appearance at all court dates. The court will release an arrestee from detention upon posting of the bail bond.
  • Cash Bail - This is cash held as a guarantee of payment. When you bail someone out of jail, the easiest option is to post the full amount in cash. If you post bail with cash, the bond court holds the full amount to ensure you show up for your court date.
  • Property Bond - If a defendant doesn't have enough money to pay bail, the court may allow them to post a property bond. Posting a property bond means you pledge the value of real property to the court to guarantee the defendant will appear in court.
  • Citation Release - Cite and release is the practice of issuing a citation for suspected unlawful conduct, but not bringing the suspect to jail for a formal booking. Instead, suspects are released on the condition that they make a signed promise to show up to court at a later date.
  • Recognizance Release - Allows the defendant in a criminal case to fight a charge in court from outside of custody without the necessity of posting a costly cash bail bond.
  • Immigration Bond - Also called a "deportation bond," an immigration bond is a type of bail that can be posted to ensure that a non-citizen shows up for his or her court date. A person who has been arrested for being in the country illegally may be eligible to post an immigration bond.

How Do I Get My Bail Money Back?

If a defendant pays a cash bail and wants to get their money back at the end of trial, he or she must be compliant with all of their release terms and show up for court as scheduled. However, some of the money may still be kept to pay for different court fees. If something goes wrong, this money may not be refunded.

In a case where the defendant uses a bond, they will pay a non-refundable premium (typically 10% of the bail). The defendant will not get their premium back, even if they obey all of the release terms and show up in court. This is because the premium is considered payment for the bail agent’s services.

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