Do You Get Bail Money Back?

Bail is often difficult for people to afford. The most common question asked by individuals is, “Do you get bail money back?”. Whether one is paying the full amount of bail or only a small percentage, many are concerned with if it is returned. The total bail can be expensive, and most individuals do not have thousands of dollars to pay the bail bond premium.

If someone cannot afford a bail premium, they can seek a bail agent and acquire a surety bail which only requires a percentage of the bail premium compared to paying the full amount of cash bail. The majority of people do not have to deal with bail regularly, so, understandably, there is confusion about how bail works, the paying and the returning of a bail bond.

According to AboutBail, you won’t always get your money returned. Receiving money back is dependent on how you posted bail and if the defendant shows up to their required court dates. This article goes over the basics of bail and how to ensure that you receive your bail bond money back upon a defendant’s release or sentencing in court if they were found guilty.

Do You Get Bail Money Back? 

Many factors play a role in receiving the bail bond money back. Bail acts as a security deposit to ensure the defendant will show up for their court appearances. Whether the defendant is proven guilty or not, they are still a suspect and therefore must follow all court procedures.

After being arrested, if bail is granted, conditions are applied to the bail implementation. These conditions are not universal and are contingent on what the defendant was arrested for, their criminal history, etc. Depending on what type of bail was posted, it can be refunded if the defendant follows all release conditions.

One receives bail money back if:

  • Cash bail was placed to the court. You’d receive the full deposit back unless there were fines or fees charged by the judge.
  • If you utilize a bail agent’s services, the bail bond premium is not refunded. For example, if you used an agent to obtain a surety bond, you won’t get your money back. 
  • The money will be returned if the defendant shows up on all the required court appearances. 
    • If the defendant does not show up, you lose all your money. 
  • They are being found not guilty on the charge resulting in the full bail amount returned.
  • If a defendant pleads guilty, the discharge of bail will occur at the hearing.

Emphasis on How to Get Bail Money Back

Moreover, the type of bail posted affects the likelihood of receiving any refund. If you enlisted a bail bondsman to write a surety bond for the defendant, it is cheaper because you will only have to pay the bail agent a percentage of the total bail amount, usually 10%. However, the premium is non-refundable. The small percentage is usually considered a fee for the bail agent’s services.

Suppose you paid the court cash bail, as in you paid the total amount to the court. That bail money will be returned if the defendant makes all court appearances, pays all court fees and fulfills any court date. If the defendant does not show up in court or follow conditions, that money is forfeited. Furthermore, the defendant will also be arrested. On the condition that a defendant is found not guilty, the bond is discharged. If the defendant pleads guilty, the bond is discharged at sentencing.

If you secured a property bond, a property bond means you offered the actual value of your property to the court in exchange for the defendant’s release. When it comes to returned value, property bonds are similar to cash bail in that the court will legally seize the property if conditions, court dates, and court appearances are not met.

Purpose of Bail Money

Understanding what bail is and what a bond is are very important to understanding the purpose of bail money. Bail is the money paid into the court system to obtain the release of someone from jail who has been arrested. Bond is posted on the defendant’s behalf, usually by a bail bond agent, to secure his or her release. The purpose of bail is to make sure that a defendant attends all future proceedings for their case. Being out of bail is a contract with the court system. If the defendant keeps all scheduled court dates, the court releases/returns bail at the end of the case to the person who posted or paid it.

Refund Procedures

A refundable bail amount cannot just be released at your convenience. There is a process to receive money after paying bail. The process can take three to four weeks. First, you need to wait until the case is over or the defendant is being released, proven guilty, or proven not guilty. A defendant release can be:

  • Discharged- the defendant was arrested, but District Attorney decides not to file charges–discharges are better than a dismissal
  • Dismissed- the defendant was arrested, but for some reason, the District Attorney is no longer proceeding with the case
  • Acquitted- a verdict of not guilty was found in the case against the defendant
  • Convicted- a verdict of guilty was found in the case against the defendant, and there will be sentencing

To claim your money back, you will need to bring your bailor with you or let them attend your last court session for you. Typically, refunds will be returned by check even if you deposited bail to the court by cash. 

David Gallagher Bail Bonds’ office is open 24-hours a day, 7 days a week. Our bail agents can assist in getting the defendant to required court appearances, obtaining surety bonds, and court procedures.


David Gallagher Bail Bonds
4500 Airport Freeway
Fort Worth, Texas 76117