Bail bonds come in many different forms from immigration to property but the two most used tend to be known as cash bonds or surety bonds. Cash bonds are the most straightforward where the judge sets bond for a certain amount and then the defendant or family member pays that amount to the courts. This amount will eventually be refunded if the defendant shows up to all court hearings and follows bail conditions. Surety bonds on the other hand are paid to a bail bondsman who only requires a small percentage down and then fronts the rest of the cost to the courts. The catch for surety bonds however is that the small percentage that is put down is not refunded since it is considered the service fee. For most people, surety bonds are the most popular option, and here’s why:
Surety bonds require much less money down
The main attraction with surety bonds is definitely the fact that they are far more accessible than cash bonds. This is because while cash bonds require the entire cost upfront, surety bonds only require on average about 10% down and even if that is too much, bail bond agencies often offer payment plans or collateral options if need be.
Your cash is not stuck in limbo
If one did decide to go the route of a cash bond, it’s important to note that while you will eventually get the money back, it can take several months for this to happen. This can present issues if the money used is taken from day-to-day accounts or even a rainy day fund given that there is no direct timeline as to when a case will conclude. For this reason, people often opt for a surety even if they do have the money to for the cash bond just because it keeps their reserves liquid in case of emergencies.
You have control when paying down fines and fees
The final benefit of surety bonds is just the benefit of control. When cash bonds are refunded, it is done so only after all fines, fees associated with court costs, and arrests are paid. This means if your bond was 10k and that is how much you paid, you can end up getting far less back with no way to opt-out. For those who depend on getting the whole amount back, it may still be better to go with a surety so that you are able to pay those fines in a way that works for you.
To sum up, both cash and surety bonds have their merits but unless one has a large resource of disposable income, surety bonds tend to be the best way to lessen the financial impact and allow you to get back to living your life.