When Will I Get My Money Back?

So a loved one has been arrested in Hernando County and you decided to bail him/her out of jail.  Now you’re anxiously awaiting the return of your money and collateral and asking yourself as you nervously pace the room, “When am I getting my money back?”  

It’s a good question, although it is difficult to determine a specific timeframe for its return.  Many factors go into it, but let’s get the worst scenario out of the way first: You’re not getting your money back.  This only happens if your loved one doesn’t show up for his/her court hearings. The decision to become an indemnitor, the person who puts up money and/or collateral to get a person out of jail, is not an easy one to make.  After all, putting up your money or valuables is a big risk because if the defendant decides to flee, you’re probably going to lose your money. As the indemnitor, you’re promising that your loved one is going to appear in court, so it’s probably a good idea to take an active role in getting your loved one to court.  

Let’s assume the best case scenario, that the defendant made all court appearances.  What happens to your money or collateral depends on how the bail was paid.

Cash Bail  

Cash bail is when you pay the full amount of the bail set by the court directly to the court.  If the defendant is found not guilty, the money will be returned to you in its entirety right away.  If your loved one is found guilty or makes a plea deal, the bail money will be returned to you after sentencing has taken place.  However, in some states, before the cash is returned, it is used to cover any court costs, fees, or penalties, so you probably won’t get the full amount back.  If the person doesn’t show up for all court dates, the entire amount is forfeited to the court. Also, if the defendant is arrested while out on bail, it will be forfeited as well.

Property Bond

This is when you offer something of value as collateral.  Its value is offered to the court for bail and if the defendant skips, the property is forfeited and sold.  It should be noted that property bonds are rare and most states don’t allow them.

Surety Bond

When you hire a bail bondsman, you are getting a surety bond.  You pay a fee, a premium, that is typically 10-15% of the amount of bail the court has mandated, (10% in Hernando County) and the bail bondsman works with a surety company to provide the rest.  This is the cheapest option because you’re usually only responsible for paying the premium up front, however, you will not get this premium back, no matter the outcome of the case. Even if the case is eventually dismissed, you will not have this money refunded.  The premium is payment for the bail bondsman’s services.

One of the advantages to using a bail bondsman is that when the case is discharged, the court can’t keep the bail money to pay for court costs and fees.  Depending on your financial situation, it might be better to keep as much of your money as you can instead of putting a huge lump sum on bail. Also, if you require a public defender, you may not be eligible if you have enough money to plunk down on bail.

Bail bondsmen are experts on how bail works and how bonds are handled in your county, so it’ll always be to your advantage to consult with them before making any final decisions.  At Mercy, we know all of the ins and outs of the Hernando County court system and can get you or your loved one out of jail quickly and discreetly. If you or a loved one has been arrested in Hernando County or Central Florida, call Mercy Bail Bonds at (727)856-7775.  Our expert staff is available 24/7 to answer any questions you may have.