When it comes to bail bonds, there are typically only two major options that are given in order to negotiate release. These are called surety bonds or cash bonds. But what are they, what makes them different, and which one is right for you and your situation? To answer these questions and more, read on for an overview.
A cash bond is a traditional concept of a bond that you would think of in which once bond is set, you pay that amount and in turn, you are released from jail until your court hearing. With cash bonds, the issue is that bonds are typically set to very high prices in order to keep defendants from fleeing but because of that most people who are detained cannot afford to pay the entire cost of that bond. If you are able to do so without draining your account, the benefit is that if you do show up to all your scheduled court appearances and follow any bond conditions that were set then you should get back that money but it can take several months for that to happen. Another important note about cash bonds is that when the money is returned, any fees and penalties will be deducted before being refunded so you can’t expect the entire cost back.
A surety bond is the type of bond you get when you work with a bail bondsman. This bond is backed essentially by insurance and because of this, the defendant will only need to come up with a small fraction of the actual bond cost (typically 10% but may vary due to state regulations) So with a surety bond. The benefit is that the defendant will only pay the 10% cost and no other payment will be needed as long as they show up to their promised court date. The downside to a surety bond however is that this money will not be refunded because it is a service fee for using the services of a bail bondsman. Surety bonds make the option of bail much more accessible for people who have fewer resources but one other aspect to take note of is that any fines or fees that the court charges will not be deducted from the fee so those will be separate bills that will most likely need to be paid at a later date.
Overall while cash bonds can be a great option for those who have the financial resources to pay everything up front and won’t miss the money if it is tied up for several months but for most, surety bonds are ideal because it lets you negotiate release without going broke.