An FBI report reveals that law enforcement made an estimated 10,662,252 arrests in 2016. Imagine how much bail money these arrests accumulated and how many people hope to get their money back.
If you’ve ever bailed a loved one out of jail, then you’ve probably wondered whether or not you can expect the money returned. Here is everything you need to know about posting bail and getting your bail money back.
What Is Bail Meant For?
When you’re handing over a large sum of money, it’s perfectly reasonable to wonder the purpose of the sum. Setting bail for criminals originated from our mother country, England, and dates back to the Anglo-Saxon period. The accused party needed a nobleman to vouch for them and prove that they would not flee to avoid punishment, or else the wealthy individual would pay the victim a settled amount.
At that time, nobody actually posted money unless the accused party fled. However, once people colonized here and started industrializing, accused criminals found it increasingly harder to secure sureties, so the courts began requiring a security deposit for release to ensure that they would show up to trial.
Today we still use this system. Sometimes it takes days, weeks, or months to prove innocence or guilt, so bail protects the rights of the accused and allows them freedom until sentencing, while also ensuring that they do not fail to appear in court.
What Happens to Bail Money?
This depends whether you had the funds available to post bail, or whether you had to seek out the modern version of a surety, a bondsman.
This money goes directly to the court as assurance that your loved one will attend their hearing.
Do I Get My Bail Money Back?
If your loved one attends the hearing and is found not guilty, then yes. If the jury decides their guilty, then it will go to restitution and you will get back what’s left (if anything). Is bail money refunded if they fail to appear? Unfortunately, no.
If you chose to sign for a bond, then you only paid a premium to the bondsman of up to 15% of the money that bail would otherwise cost.
Do You Get Bond Money Back?
The premium paid to a bail agent is nonrefundable. In fact, you took responsibility for paying back the entire bond amount to the bondsman in the case that your loved one disappears.
This sounds heavy and even a little discouraging. But if you put $1,500 towards a $10,000 bail, it’s a fantastic deal when you love and trust the person whose freedom you’re securing while they await trial.
How Do I Get My Refund?
In the event that the court returns the bail, they will send it to the address that they have on file, after the end date of your loved one’s trial. This can take anywhere from 2-6 weeks.
If you do not receive the money by the 6-week mark, contact the court. Also, note that trials sometimes go on for months or more. Make sure you keep the court updated to any change in address and/or contact information, to ensure a safe return of your refund.
Freedom to Free Them
If you cannot afford your loved one’s bail, even if you get your bail money back later, but know they deserve freedom during the process, then you need a bondsman. We want to help. Contact us today for a bond that offers the freedom to free your loved one.