When it comes to bonds, there are a few common types. The most common are the cash bond and the surety bond. A cash bond is the most straight-forward and is when the judge sets a bond cost and a defendant or loved one pays the entirety of the bond in order to be released until their scheduled court hearing and then later has the money returned. A surety bond, on the other hand, is a little bit more complex and is when a defendant or a loved one hires a bondsman to essentially act as an insurer to the courts to negotiate a fee for release that is non-refundable. Now from an initial impression, a cash bond would seem to be the ideal choice, but due to the high amount of capital needed and some other drawbacks, a surety bond may be the better choice in most cases. Here is an overview of why a surety bond may be the best option even if you can afford to pay a cash bond.
Surety Bonds Cost Only 10% of Cash Bonds
One of the most significant benefits of a surety bond over a cash bond is the ability to pay less upfront. In fact, most bail bond agents only charge 10% of the actual bond cost as a service fee. This not only allows the opportunity for release for those people who would not usually have the resources to pay a high cash bond fee, but even those with the necessary resources can benefit as they can keep their money liquid. This means that there is money to pay for things like lawyers and court fees as well as living expenses that could have gone straight to the courts.
You will have better access to your money
This leads to the second reason that a surety bond is a better choice. With a cash bond, even though the money will eventually be refunded if the defendant shows up to their scheduled hearing, it can still take up to six months before the money to be returned. If the defendant or family member paid a cash bond with their savings or a large chunk of what was in their bank account, then that money is not going to be available for other things that need to be taken care of such as living expenses. When you utilize a surety bond, since only a fraction of the bond needs to be paid, it frees up the rest of the money that would otherwise be tied up with the courts for the foreseeable future.
No automatic deductions
The final reason to use a surety bond that most people are not aware of is the automatic deduction of fines and fees from the bond cost. If you have large court costs and fees as well as fines associated with your arrest, then be prepared to be refunded an amount far less than what you originally paid to the courts for your release. This is because the courts will not have an option to opt-out for deductions, which means that all fees are deducted from the bond that you paid. This can wreak financial havoc if you were anticipating a higher return than what you finally receive. Again, with a surety bond, those fees, fines, and court costs will be separate. So while you will still have to pay them, you may be able to enroll in a payment plan or have other options so that you have control over how they are paid.
As you can see, the biggest benefit of utilizing a surety bond through a bail bond agent is greater control over your finances. Surety bonds allow you to maintain liquidity over your assets and can give you some flexibility over how your court costs, fines, and fees are paid. Going to and being released from jail is always going to be a difficult process, but using a surety bond can help to give you some flexibility as you go through the process that isn’t always possible with a cash bond.