The Difference Between Paying Bail To The Court And Paying A Bond To A Bondsman

Finance & Money Blog

If you have to come up with bail for someone, you may feel overwhelmed and rushed. You don't want that family member or friend ending up in jail but may not know what to do. You can pay the bail to the court, or go get a bail bond. There are distinct differences in how you handle the two options. While paying the court directly can work for some people, many times it's better to go with a bail bondsman.

Your 10 Percent Is a Service Fee – but Worth It

When you pay bail to a court in cash, and the defendant shows up as scheduled, you get the cash back. There can be extra steps involved in that, but that's the basic procedure. With a bail bond, the 10 percent (or whatever percent you gave the bondsman) is treated as a service fee, and you typically don't get it back.

At first, that sounds like a disadvantage. Why would you want to give up that money? Well, if you get a bail bond, you're putting down only a percentage of what the bail is. If you go through the court and pay cash, you have to pay the entire amount. You might get that back, but in the meantime, you're out all that money until the hearings are completed.  

Bondsmen May Have More Options if the Defendant Skips Bail

If you get a bail bond for someone, the idea of them skipping bail and not showing up when they're supposed to be in court is a scary one. You could lose your money, or worse, whatever you've used as collateral, including a car. If you've paid bail to a court, that's it, and the defendant has to be found and arrested. If you've gotten a bail bond, however, you do have more options. Contact the bondsman and let them know what's going on. They should try to work with you to find a solution that doesn't see you losing much, if anything.

The Bail Bond Company Really Is on Your Side

At best, the court bail system is neutral; someone is ordered to make bail, the court collects it, the defendant shows up to every hearing and appointment, and then the court gives you back the money. At worst, the court could seem to be working against you actively, with paperwork, delays, and general indifference to the difficult situation you're in.

A bondsman actually has an interest in seeing the case go well and making sure the defendant shows up. And if things go wrong, the bondsman can be more sympathetic, again offering different options to help you deal with skipped bail and its consequences. Even if you can afford to pay the whole bail in cash, it may be better to go with a bail bond office because you'll have more customer service and support.

Contact a bondsman near you if you would like more information on bail bonds. 


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