What is a Cash Bond?

wad of cash changing hands

The Bail Bonds Process

Getting arrested can be confusing and scary. The judicial system doesn’t make it easy but hiring a defense lawyer can help navigate the situation. Especially when it comes to getting released on bail and the different types of bonds that are available, like a cash bond

What is a cash bond?

A cash bond is just what the name implies. A defendant, or a representative for the defendant, pays cash to the judicial system where they were arrested as a bail amount to be released from jail. 

If the defendant doesn’t make their required court appearance, the full amount of the cash bond is kept by the judicial system it was paid to. So, what are the benefits of a cash bond that make it a better choice?  The two common types of bail bonds: 

  • Cash bonds: where the bail is paid in cash or by credit, debit card
  • Surety bonds: where the services of a bail bond agency is used, paying only a percentage

The cash bond is paid in cash for the full amount of the bail set by the judge.  A surety bond is obtained through a bail bond agency, usually only paying 10% of the bail amount. 

The biggest benefit of a cash bond is the process is direct and generally faster. When the defendant appears for required court dates, the full amount of the cash bond is returned, less any court costs or fees.  Cash bonds can be paid in: 

  • Cash
  • Credit Card
    Debit Card

What are the risks of a Cash Bond?

There are a few downsides if you choose to post a cash bond: 

  • If the defendant skips out on their required court date, you lose all the money paid. 
  • It can hinder a family’s cash flow when you consider the full amount of the required bail.
  • Some states have laws in place that allow the courts to retain the bail if there is a guilty verdict. 

What is different about a cash bond?

The difference between paying a cash bail vs. bond bail with a bondsman is the cash factor. With a cash bond, the full amount of the bail set by the judge is paid in cash to the judicial system where the defendant is being held. 

With a bail bond, you obtain this through a bail bond agency by paying a small percentage of the bail amount. With a cash bond, the full amount is paid to the courts in cash or by credit card or debit card. With a cash bond, there isn’t any process of getting qualified through the bondsman, there isn’t any requirement for collateral either. 

How can you get a cash bond?

A judge sets bail amounts on each defendant presented before them for arraignment. There is a bail schedule in place for the judge to follow, but the amount can be lowered or increased at the judge’s discretion.  They take things like the circumstances at the time of arrest, the defendant’s criminal record, and employment status into consideration in setting the bail amount.

Once the bail amount has been set, the defendant, a family member, friend, or any third party can post a cash bond for the full amount at the judicial system where the defendant is held. In most cases, if a cash bond is being posted, there isn’t any need for a bail bond agent unless the court has other factors in place, like in the case of COVID 19 precautions.

What can you use a cash bond for?

The only reason for a cash bond is to bail a person out of jail. And do you need money upfront for a cash bond? Yes, because this is paid directly to the courts, they will require the full bail amount in cash. Some courts accept credit cards and debit cards. During COVID quarantine, most courts were requiring bail to be paid online using credit cards or debit cards. 

pile of cash with hundred dollar bills

At The End Of The Day 

What types of offenses you can use a cash bond for? For any offense with any amount of bail set by a judge, the courts allow cash bonds. The hindrance for most of us is not having that amount of cash accessible to pay the full bail amount by cash bond. If a judge denies bail, it won’t matter if you’re able to pay a cash bond or would use a bail bond agent.  

It is important to remember that if you post a cash bond to get somebody released from jail, you have placed all that money in jeopardy that they will appear before the courts as required. You will lose all the cash paid.  When you use a bail bond service, you will lose the 10% you paid them, and they will file a request with the court to have the defendant arrested for skipping on their bail.