Bonds can be prohibitively expensive and this is by design. The point of a bond is to be a deterrent from skipping town and not showing up to court, but the problem that can often occur is that the person being held in jail does not have enough money to be released even if the bond was offered. This is where surety bonds come in. Surety bonds are the type of bonds that a bail bondsman uses to negotiate the release and they are the most ideal way to get someone out of jail when they don’t have unlimited resources. Here is why they are ideal:
You only need a small fraction down
The main reason a surety bond can make getting released possible despite your financial situation is that it only requires a small fraction of the bond cost down and even with this there are various payment options available. This fraction down is a bail bond service fee so it is not refundable but the percentage is state-mandated is usually around 10%. There is an understanding that not everyone can even afford the 10% especially on higher-priced bonds but bail bond agencies can often let someone use collateral, co-signers, and even payment plans to help the defendant get out of jail.
Money is not in limbo
The one main appeal of cash bonds is that the money will eventually get refunded once the case closes. The problem with this however is that it takes a very long time for cases to complete and you could be out of those financial resources for many, many months. If the cash used is just discretionary funds it is not such a big deal, but if the money fronted is all your savings or you are putting it on a credit card, it can have much bigger consequences if something comes up. With a surety bond, you just pay the 10% down, and as long as the defendant shows up to all their court dates, that is all you will have to worry about. This just helps people avoid precarious financial situations by avoiding having all their money tied up with the courts.
You know exactly what you’re being charged
The final benefit of going with a surety bond over a cash bond is one that is not well known until after the fact but when someone pays a cash bond, they will get their money refunded but only after all fines and fees are deducted which means you will not be getting back what you originally put in. This can be an unhappy surprise to someone who was counting on getting the full amount back but it also gives you little control in the ability to challenge any of the charges. When you go with a surety bond, the courts don’t have the option to do this which means that the defendant will get billed but that can lead to better options such as payment plans or the ability to question some charges you may have questions about.