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3 Reasons Why Paying Cash For A Bail Bond Isn't The Best Idea

Bail bonds offer a quick and convenient way to get yourself or a loved one out of jail. However, it's not unusual to see people post cash bail in lieu of more common bail bonds. Although cash bail has its own advantages, it also has a few drawbacks worth mentioning here. Read on to learn why you're better off using a bail bondsman instead of relying on cold, hard cash.

Judges Can Issue Steep Bail Amounts

Judges and magistrates take a broad range of factors into account when setting bail amounts, including the seriousness of the charges at hand, the defendant's prior criminal background, and how much of a flight risk the defendant represents. It's not unusual for judges to set steep bail amounts based on the information and evidence they're presented with. For example, a California case involved a combined cash and collateral bail of $66 million, making it one of the highest bails set to date.

The higher the bail amount, the more difficult it becomes for anyone intent on paying the bail in cash. Raising cash bail can prove to be a hardship for most families, especially those of modest financial means. In contrast, a bail bond allows you to pay a fraction of the bail amount in cash as a nonrefundable fee—usually around 10 percent of the total bail amount. When dealing with bail amounts that could easily exceed tens of thousands of dollars, a bail bond offers more financial flexibility.

Gathering Cash for Bail Can Take Time

The process of gathering the money needed for cash bail can also prove time-consuming, especially for families on a tight budget or those undergoing their own hardships. Pooling money among family and friends can take days, weeks, or even months of hard work to accomplish. In the meantime, all the defendant can do is wait in jail until the money for cash bail becomes available.

Hiring a bail bondsman lets you skip the wait, giving you or your loved one the ability to bond out sooner. The application process is usually faster than gathering money for cash bail, plus you'll only pay a small portion of the total bail amount.

You Risk Losing the Entire Amount

Putting up the entire bail amount in cash also exposes you to serious financial risk if something goes wrong on the defendant's end. Once you've gathered the cash needed for bail, the proceeds are then held by the court for the duration of the case. The good news is that the court will return your money in full once the case is over.

The bad news is that it only takes a missed court date or a failure to comply with any other bail conditions, including mandatory drug rehab meetings, for the entire cash bond to be forfeited. It's a setback that can prove devastating for anyone who struggled to raise the cash needed for bail.

With a bail bond, you're not as exposed to those financial risks. Instead of risking your own money on bail, it's the bondsman who assumes the financial risks by posting bail on your behalf. If the defendant decides to skip town, it's the bondsman who loses the entire bail amount unless they can bring the defendant back into court custody.

The average bondsman has plenty of resources at their disposal to track and return those who skip bail to court custody. In the meantime, the bondsman can pursue repayment of the forfeited bail amount as a creditor, which means you're still on the hook for the bail amount if the defendant isn't returned to court custody.

For more information, call a bail bondsman today.