People often assume they'll get their bail money back when a criminal case concludes, but this is only true if you pay the money directly to the court. If you use a bail bond company, you won't get a refund because what you paid was a fee for the service and not the bail itself. That isn't to say, though, that bondsmen never issue refunds. Here are two instances when you may be entitled to your money back.
The Defendant Isn't Released from Jail
The purpose of paying bail is to get the defendant out of jail. If the person isn't released despite handing over the money, then the contract you have with the bail bond company never gets fulfilled, and the company will usually issue a refund if it seems the defendant won't get out at all.
This may seem like an obvious thing but, depending on the circumstances, confusion can crop up about whether a refund really is due. This is because there are two non-release situations that can occur, and only one of them would entitle you to reimbursement.
The first one is the aforementioned issue where the defendant never leaves the jail. This can happen for several reasons, such as the court revoking bail or requiring cash-only bail at the last minute. If the money is paid but the defendant is prohibited from leaving, the bondsman will usually cancel the contract and refund your cash.
However, sometimes the defendant is, in fact, released but put back in jail due to committing another offence or having additional charges levied against them. In this situation, you would not be entitled to a refund—even if the person was reincarcerated within minutes of leaving the jail—because the defendant was let go, thus fulfilling the bondsman end of the bargain.
It's important to ask the bondsman about this situation to see how they would handle it so you're not surprised if things take an odd turn and you can't get your money back.
The Company Decides Not to Take the Case
Another reason you would receive a refund is if the bond company ultimately decides not to take the defendant on as a client. Like any other business, bondsmen have the right to refuse service, and they may feel dealing with the defendant entails much more risk than they're willing to take.
For example, after drawing up the contract, the company learns the defendant has jumped bail before. They may be afraid the person will do it again and cancel the contract so they don't have worry about losing their money because the court forfeits the bail when the defendant fails to show up. In this case, the company will typically return your money, providing you with the ability to hire someone else.
For more information about how bail bonds work or assistance with getting someone out of jail, contact a local bond company.
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