Once a defendant is offered bond during a bond hearing, the judge will set an amount that must be paid in order to be released. This amount tends to be paid in two main ways. A cash bond or what is know as a surety bond. With a cash bond, the entire amount is paid to the courts and later on down the line the money is eligible to be refunded once the case concludes. A surety bond on the other hand is paid by a bail bondsman and only requires a fraction of the cost of the actual bond. The caveat with this however is that the money down in non-refundable since it is considered the service fee for hiring a bail bondsman. While it may seems that the cash bond would be the ideal way to deal with a bond, if one can comes up with the money, but there are actually a few reasons why surety bonds will end up being more helpful in the long run, regardless of circumstance. Here is what you need to know.
You don’t need to come up with the whole amount for a surety bond
As we talked about above, when you go with a cash bond you need to be able to pay the entire amount of the set bond upfront. This can be extremely prohibitive to many since the set bond cost can range from the low thousands all the way to the millions in some cases depending on the severity of charges and access to resources by the defendant. With a surety bond, however, you only need on average about 10% of the bond cost. This makes it far more accessible to the vast majority of people and allows people to be released and live their lives while waiting for their hearing as opposed to spending time in jail or scrambling to come up with such a large amount of money at once.
Your money is not tied up
For a lot of people, it just isn’t possible to come up with such a large amount of money in such a short time, or if they do have it, it would require that they drain their savings to pay it. This is one of the biggest reasons why cash bonds can be detrimental even if you do have the resources on hand because though in theory, you will eventually get the money back, it will be several months and sometimes years before that happens which is a really long time to have such a larger amount of money out of your accounts. When you opt for a cash bond, it allows the money that you have to be liquid in case any other unexpected circumstances arise that need your attention.
You have more control over fines and payments to the court
One thing that many do not know about bonds is that the cost paid can be tied to fees and restitution. This means that even after a case concludes if you the defendant have any outstanding court costs, fees, or restitution to pay, that money will be taken out of the bond cost before it is refunded. This means that in almost every occurrence, you will be getting back a lot less than what you paid. When you go with a surety bond, you tend to have more control over how these fees get paid because the money was never fully in the hands of the courts in the first place. This means that while you still have to pay these fees, you can get the opportunity to work with the courts for options such as payment plans to pay over time rather than have all the money just quickly confiscated when you were hoping to get it back.
Overall, while the option of a cash bond can be appealing if you have the resources on hand and you can afford to potentially lose it, but for most, the controls that come with surety bonds will end up leaving you with more flexibility and less stress in the long run.