Do You Get Money Back From Bail Bonds?

Wooden gavel on top of one hundred dollar bills and keyboard in background bail bond concept

Being accused of a crime is an incredibly stressful time for the defendant and their loved ones. If you’re dealing with criminal matters, you might be wondering – how can you afford to pay bail? And do you get any money back from a bail bondsman? To help, we answer these questions and more below. 

What Is Bail?

For starters, let’s make sure it’s clear what we mean when we talk about “bail”. What is it, anyway?

Well, if someone is accused of a crime, the courts will often allow the defendant to leave jail on the condition that they show up for future court dates. A judge may release someone on their “own recognizance” (OR) which means they don’t pay for release, but on other occasions, the judge won’t allow the defendant to leave custody until they post a sum known as bail.

In certain serious cases, bail might not be an option, but in most cases, bail is available.     

What Is the Difference Between Bail and Bonds?

You might hear people talk about bail and bonds as if they’re the same thing, but this is untrue! To avoid any confusion:  

Bail is the sum of money a defendant must pay to be released from jail. It’s a cash sum posted by the defendant. 

Bonds are types of loans offered by bail bond companies. In exchange for a deposit, or premium, the company guarantees to pay the bail amount. The defendant agrees to repay the bail amount over time to the agency, rather than posting cash bail all at once.   

Man claiming money back from bail bonds with justice statue and gavel in background

Do You Get Money Back From Bail?

Bail can be expensive, so this is a really common question! The answer depends on two factors: whether the defendant meets their bail requirements, and how you post bail.

How You Post Bail 

Typically, defendants post bail in one of two ways: paying by cash or through bail bonds. 

  • If you pay the full amount in cash upfront, and the defendant meets their bail conditions, you can get your money back from bail. 
  • If you use a bail bonds company, then you can’t claim your initial premium back since this is non-refundable. The company can recover the bail amount at the end of the case if the defendant complies with their bail conditions.  

Using bail bonds can work out cheaper, so they have advantages over posting cash bail – especially if you’re unable to pay a large amount in cash.   

Bail Requirements

Getting bail money back from the court is not possible unless the defendant meets their bail requirements i.e. turns up for every scheduled court appearance. If the defendant breaches bail, then any bail money is forfeited meaning it’s non-returnable. 

If, however, the defendant complies with bail conditions, and they post cash bail, the money is returnable. 

Do You Get Bond Money Back From a Bail Bondsman?

To be clear, the initial premium or deposit you pay for bail bonds is non-refundable. So, you can’t recover this money, even if the defendant meets every bail requirement. 

However, if you used any property as collateral for the bond, and the defendant meets their bail requirements, the bail company releases the property back to you once the case ends. 

What about if the case against the defendant is dismissed? Well, if the bail bonds agency posts bail and the defendant is released, then the agency has met its obligations to the person, and so the position is the same. The money is non-returnable. 

Our team has offices around California. If you have any further questions about how to get money back from bail bonds, or how bail bonds work, don’t hesitate to contact us.  

Getting Bail Money Back From Court

Confused about how to get bail money back from court? We get it – the process can seem daunting. Here’s how it works.

  • The court retains the bail money for the duration of the case. So, cash bail can be refunded once the defendant is acquitted or found guilty.  
  • If the defendant is found guilty and ordered to pay a fine, you might choose to use money from the bail to pay this. 
  • Cash bail is refunded normally within 6-12 weeks of the case ending. 

Remember, though, that you can only get the bail money back from the court if the defendant makes every court appearance and complies with bail conditions. Otherwise, the money is forfeited.   

Get Your Bail Bond Now

Posting cash bail is not an option for everyone. If you need a bail bond, our agents are happy to help. We understand how stressful criminal proceedings can be, and we want to make the process as simple as possible. Our experienced bail agents operate 24/7, so it’s never a bad time to call us about bail bonds.   

Contact a Bail Hotline Bail Office near you!

Branch Office
  • Open 24 Hours