So, you made it out of jail…and in just a shade under a couple thousand dollars!!! Bonds can be expensive. Throughout our career, we have seen bonds as low as a $300 and as high as $750,000. The amount of the bond depends on many different things which could be the subject of a blog post itself; however, in this issue we will answer a question that we get asked by 80% of our clients: When do I get my bond money back? Whether or not you get your bond money back depends on one thing, did you actually post the bond or did you use a bonding company.
Because bonds can be very high (and let’s face it, no one has an “I got arrested” savings account) there are companies out there that have relationships/contracts with local sheriff’s departments allowing them to bond you out of jail. Most of these companies charge you a fraction (10-15%) of what the actual bond amount is. Therefore, if your bond is $10,000, you will agree to pay ABC Bonding a fee of $1,000 to sign onto your bond so that you can get you out of jail. That company then has a pecuniary interest in ensuring that you show up to court and will often check in with you to make sure you plan to appear when notices are sent out. If you have utilized one of these companies to get you out of custody, the money that you paid them is not a refundable fee. Therefore, the 10% charge that you paid ABC Bonding is money that they get to keep and that is how that business makes money.
Alternatively, there are people out there with the means to post their own bond without having to use a bonding company. Therefore, if your bond is $5,000 and you happen to have $5,000 at your disposal, you would pay the local sheriff’s department that money plus some jail fees and other administrative charges. Under these set of circumstances, when the time is appropriate you would receive the $5,000 that you paid to be released from custody.
When you receive this money depends on several factors. Generally, this money is held in a trust account monitored by the Clerk of Court. When your case is closed out, either by a plea, dismissal or jury verdict, the Clerk of Court will take note of the final disposition and cut a check to be mailed to the address on file of the “principal” (the person who paid the bond). Thus, the bond money is not returned until the case is completed. Alternatively, defendants are given a choice of allowing the bond to be paid towards the fine. Therefore, if after disposition a fine is due to the Court, for example, in the amount of $1,000, at the permission of the principal the bond can be used to pay that amount and that which is left over will be returned to the appropriate person.
If you have more questions about your bond and would like to discuss your case further, do not hesitate to contact our office today.