For centuries the bail system in the US has been helping to ensure accountability on the part of those accused of crimes and justice for the victims of crime. But it’s no exaggeration to state that most people have little idea about how the system works. One of the biggest disconnects concerns the difference between cash bail and a bail bond. To most people, there is no difference. Bail is bail and is something arranged for through a bail bond agent. But that is an incomplete understanding at best. Read on to learn more about the important difference between cash bail and bail bonds.
Cash Bail Vs. Bail Bonds
Bail is an ancient system adopted from English common law that is designed to ensure that accused persons will appear in court to face the charges against them if they are freed while awaiting trial. Without it (as we have unfortunately seen in several US states in recent years) chaos reigns.
If the accused makes all her scheduled court appearances the bail is refunded to her when her trial is over, whether she is found guilty or innocent. If, however, she misses a court date or violates other terms of her bail that bail may be forfeited to the state and a warrant issued for her arrest.
“Bail” tends to be used as a blanket term that refers to the amount the court demands a defendant pay in order to secure their release while awaiting their court date. But there is more than one type of bail and this is where confusion enters the picture.
About Cash Bail
If a person is arrested they may either be released on their own recognizance or informed that they will need to post bail. In most cases the police work from a bail schedule that lays out exactly how much bail is required for the various potential charges. If they want the defendant can pay the full bail amount in cash at the jail and after doing so they’ll be released with a court date. This is cash bail.
If your bail is set at $1 million and you can afford to pay in cash you have that option. In most cases, however, bail is anywhere from a few hundred to several thousand dollars. Once you have paid cash bail and been released, that money will be held by the court until the conclusion of your trial, at which time it will be returned to you. But, as we mentioned earlier, if you violate the terms of your bail there’s a good chance you’ll never see that money again.
The pros of cash bail:
- No need to work with a bonding company
- Less paperwork
- No additional fees
- Shows the court you’ll likely appear to face the charges (since it’s your money you stand to lose)
The cons of cash bail:
- The money comes out of your pocket
- Missing your court date means losing your money
- It can take up to 3 months to see a refund
- You get a check back, not cash and have to wait for that to clear
About Bail Bonds
A bail bond is an agreement between a defendant and a bail bond company that agrees to guarantee the bail amount in return for the defendant paying the bail bond agent a non-refundable fee. Bail bonds are the most common type of bail agreement in use today for a variety of reasons.
With a bail bond (sometimes referred to as a surety bond) the bail agent essentially promises to pay the court the bail amount in full if the defendant fails to appear in court to face the charges against them. Once the bail bond has been secured and submitted the defendant is released awaiting their court date.
The pros of a bail bond:
- You don’t have to come up with the full bail amount yourself
- The bondsman typically works fast to secure your release
- Bad credit is usually no impediment to working with a bondsman
- All it costs is a relatively modest fee
- Some bonding agents will allow you to make payments for the fee amount
- Companies like Urban Bail Bonds offer 24-hour bail bonds
The cons of a bail bond:
- No matter how modest you still have to pay a non-refundable fee to the bondsman
- If your bond is forfeited the bondsman will come after you to collect
- You’ll have to give up some privacy and provide personal information to the bondsman
So there you have it. The main difference between cash bail and a bail bond is who puts up the money to secure your release. With cash bail, the full bail amount comes right out of your pocket. With a bail bond, you pay a fee to the bondsman and he promises the court that if you skip out on your court date, he’ll pay the court the full bail amount.
Just keep in mind that if you have a history of jumping bail it may be difficult to find a bail company in Broomfield County or elsewhere that will work with you, simply because recouping lost bond amounts from wayward clients can be a long, arduous process.
Contact Urban Bail Bonds for Affordable Bail Bonds in Adams County
If you’ve been arrested and are in need of help contact the team at Urban Bail Bonds. We’re here 24 hours a day and can secure your release in a timely fashion. Call (303) 736-2275.