Is Bail Money Returned?


Paying bail to get someone out of jail to await trial is still the first and most common system in the USA, with the surprising exception of New Jersey. But for many people that don’t have a lot of experience with the legal system, especially if criminal charges are introduced, bail and the concept of bail money can be a confusing thing. A lot of people are concerned about paying bail and what happens after that. After all, bail can be a lot of money, so is it possible to get it back? The answer to that depends on what happens to the person being charged.


What Is Bail?

When someone is charged with criminal offenses by law enforcement, then a trial is set to determine whether that person is guilty or not. With no further intervention, the person charged must now wait for the trial date in jail. However, if something known as “bail” is paid, then the person can leave jail and await the trial date while continuing with normal life at home and at work. Depending on the seriousness of the offenses, bail can run a few hundred dollars, or run can run in the millions. In some cases, especially with violent crimes, no bail is set, and the person charged has no choice but to await trial in jail.

How Bail Is Paid

Once the bail hearing has occurred, and the bail amount is set, bail can be paid and the defendant may leave jail once the amount is received. Bail can be paid in two ways, either in full, as a cash payment, or with collateral, such as property, automobiles, artwork and/or other investments. A third option is to use a bail bondsman, where a small percentage of the total bail is paid, anywhere from 8-10%, to the bail bondsman, who then furnishes the remainder.

Returns & Losses

Depending on the outcome of a trial, if a person has paid the bail in full, or put up collateral, it may be returned. If the charges are dropped, or the verdict is an acquittal/not guilty decision, then the bail or collateral is returned. If, however, the defendant flees and does not attend the trial, the bail is kept. If the defendant is found guilty, the bail is also kept.

When using a bail bondsman, however, the money is never returned. This is because the percentage of the fee paid to the bail bondsman is non-refundable. In fact, that percentage paid is often considered the fee for the bail bondsman taking the responsibility to put up the remaining funds required for someone’s bail. If a person “jumps bail” that had the funding taken care of by a bail bondsman, that bondsman now has much greater motivation to return the defendant, and may even be authorized to use bounty hunters to recover the person.

Get Help

If you live in Denver, Colorado and have issues with bail, then Details Investigations & Bail Bonds can help. We’ve been serving the area for many years, and know exactly what to do I order to help people during stressful periods such as an arrest and an upcoming trial.

Need Help? Schedule Your Free Consultation Today.