Although there are many types of bonds out there, the two most popular options by far are cash bonds and surety. Cash bonds are essentially bonds you pay in cash. The entire amount is due to the courts in exchange for release and once all hearings have been attended and the case is completed, you would get this money back. Surety bonds on the other hand require the services of a bail bondsman. Instead of coming up with the entire cost upfront, you only pay a portion of the bond cost upfront and the bail bondsman will put forth the rest. The one biggest stipulation with this however is the percentage down is considered a service fee and is not refundable. For the vast majority of people, a surety bond will be the way to go, and here are a few reasons why:
Surety bonds are only a fraction the cost of a cash bond
The main reason why people tend to go for surety bonds over cash bonds is purely just economics. Bonds are expensive on purpose so that they keep incentive to showing up to court and because of this, even a relatively minor charge can cost thousands. Most people either do not have this type of money sitting around or it would wipe out their savings so using a bail bondsman makes more sense because you are only required to put down a small fraction (usually around 10%) down and you still get to be released.
Your money is not tied up
As said above, bonds are extremely pricey and even if you do have the resources to pay the cash bond and you show up to your court hearings, it could potentially be months before you ever see that money again. If this is wiping out your accounts or putting your saving in limbo, it can feel very uneasy and makes taking care of day-to-day purchases that much more difficult. By paying the lower cost on the bail bond, it allows people to get back to their lives while awaiting their hearing without having to put everything on hold while they wait for their money to be returned at some indeterminate amount of time.
You don’t have to worry about how much money is taken out of the final total
The last benefit of using a surety bond over a cash bond is that while you may know exactly how much you paid to be released, the amount you get back is far from guaranteed. This is because the courts will return the money at some point in time but any fines and fees attached to the arrest will be deducted from this balance automatically before refunding. This can be an issue if you had plans for this money or just want to have some control in paying these types of things off in your own way.
In the end, there are several ways in which a surety bond can help defendants have a bit more control over their finances while going through the court system and while it can be tempting to just pay the cash bond in full, there are certain downsides that can actually make this method a risk.