A bail bond will help you get back on the street and avoid spending your time in jail. But will you get your money back?

Usually. But the best answer is that it depends.

Do I get my bail money back?

When you pay a bail bond to the court, you’re basically putting down a sum of money to tell the court that you’ll show up for your court date. If you don’t show up for court you forfeit that money.

That bail bond will be returned in full if you’re acquitted or the charges are dropped. But if you’re found guilty, a part of that bond will be used to pay court costs. And if you’re arrested again while out on bond, that bond will be forfeited as well. But for the most part the bond will be entirely refunded at the end of court proceedings.

Some people are able to pay that bail bond themselves, but many contract with a bail bondsman. That makes things slightly different. The bond will still be paid back completely, but it belongs to the bail bondsman. The fee that you pay to the bail bondsman isn’t refunded.

That fee—usually around 10 percent of the actual amount of the bond—is like the premium you pay for car, home or life insurance. It’s a service fee used to support the company so they can stay in business. It’s not refunded, because it’s between you and the bail bondsman, not the court.

A bail bondsman is providing insurance to the court that you’ll show up for your court date. When you pay that fee you’re paying them for the service of lending that money and doing the other services that come with hiring a bondsman. Those services are important no matter whether you are found guilty or innocent.

The money you don’t get back

Bonds are only forfeited if the person accused leaves or is arrested. Even if they’re found guilty only a small percentage of that money is taken for court fees. If the person who’s bonded stays on the straight and narrow the bond is safe.

You won’t get back any money you pay to a bondsman. But if it’s worth it to you to get out of jail for that period that 10 percent of the bond is worth it.

Yes, you’ll get your money back from the court, but bail bondsman fees are theirs to keep. If you have any more questions about how bonds work, call Mr. Bail Bonds and we’ll help you out. Let us help you stay free.