Now that my case is over, the bond is exonerated, can I get my money back? Answer; Yes and No. If the bail bondsman provided the bail he charged a fee and that fee is non-refundable. If the person went directly to the court to post what is called a “Cash Bond”, then yes, all monies are returned.
There are two major types of ways to bail someone out who is currently being held in a jail, like the Los Angeles Jail. Listed below are the two types and explanations of both.
- Surety Bail: This is the most common of bail bonds types. This is where a person or defendant works directly with a bail bondsman. The normal bail bonds process goes like this. A call is made to the bail bonds company, either from the defendant in jail or from someone the defendant contacted. The bail agent looks up the defendants information on the local sheriff’s website, www.lasd.org for example. Here the bail bondsman can see the bail amount for the defendant, when the next court date is and sometimes the charges (PC 243 for example) against the defendant. Say the charge is domestic violence (most popular second to DUI) and the bail amount is set at $20,000. Anyone who works with a bail bondsman has to pay a fee. This fee is to pay the bail bondsman for the work involved to write the bail bonds, monitor the case as it goes to court, file the proper paperwork when the case is exonerated, notify all involved when the bond is exonerated, pay all the fees to the Surety that is financially backing the bail bondsman, and finally, provide a salary to the bail bondsman. The normal fee for the State of California is 10% of the total bail. So for a $20,000 bail bond the fee is $2000. This fee is paid by the defendant or indemnitor (person signing for the defendant). This fee is never refundable as it is a fee for working with the bail bonds company. Similar to a fee that is paid to get a loan. Once the bond has been posted at the jail the defendant could be released anywhere between 2 hours and 8 hours, depending on many factors; how busy the jail is, how long it takes to get fingerprint data back from the national database, and how fast the jail deputies decide to move the paperwork along. Once the defendant is freed from jail they return to the bail bonds office and sign the paperwork and are free to rejoin their normal life. Their respnsibilities are to attend all court dates and finish the case thus exonerating the bond. Once the bond is exonerated then all party’s responsibilities are also exonerated. Once this happens the most popular question we get is, “Can we get our money back?” It seems people believe that because the bond is no longer in play, that their 10% payment should no longer be valid either. But the reality is, its a fee paid to a company for a service. The service being bailing someone out of jail and taking on all the risks involved with that.
- Cash Bail: This case is very rare as one rarely finds individuals with large amounts of money liquid enough to utilize quickly. Cash bail works like this: A person is arrested, booked, and bail is set according to the County’s Bail Schedule. For this example the bail amount will be $20,000. Cash bail is when someone takes the total bail amount, $20,000, in cash or money order, directly to the court. The court holds on to the $20,000 until the case is finished. Once the case is finished, the entire $20,000 is returned to the person who deposited the money. The end result is that there was no money charged for bailing someone out of jail for this scenario. It’s a great way to bail someone out of jail because in the end, they saved $2000, but not everyone has $20,000 in cash sitting around their house or financial entity.
Now that the bail bond is over, can we get our money back? If you worked with a bail bondsman, the answer is, “no” and if you paid for the bond yourself to the court, the answer is, “yes.” Its as simple as that.