Difference Between Cash Bail and Bond

Difference Between Cash Bail and Bond
October 05 07:27 2017 Print This Article

A judge has to make a decision in a criminal case after the defendant’s arrest and before the case goes to trial. The person will either be remanded to jail until a verdict is given or he or she will be offered bail. Bail is money paid to the court to guarantee the person will not try to skip town and avoid court appearances. This money backs up a promise to return to court as directed, else it will be forfeited.

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Why cash bail and bonds are needed

Waiting for a verdict can take a long time, from months to years, and sometimes longer! If bail is an option, most people choose to take it rather than spending time in prison. Depending on the dollar amount set by the judge for bail, sometimes this amount is too high for the accused person (or a family member/friend) to pay. When determining the dollar amount to set, the judge often considers other factors under Texas Law:

  • Severity of the crime charged
  • Previous criminal history
  • Defendant’s “flight risk

If bail is ordered, when looking at options to pay it, it’s important to understand the difference between cash bail and bond.

What is cash bail?

Cash bail is exactly what it sounds like – it is cash paid to the court by either the defendant or someone else on his or her behalf. People usually pay cash bail if the amounts are small (typically for minor crimes) and then will get usually their money back after the court case is concluded and all court requirements are fulfilled.

What is a bond?

If the defendant, or other persons willing to help financially, cannot pay the amount of the bail set, another option is to pursue a bail bond. This is money gotten from a bail bond company who will post the full amount of bail to court in exchange for a smaller percentage of the total bail ordered, along with collateral (which can be real estate, jewelry or other types of assets). As a part of the process, the bondsman pledges to pay the full bail if the defendant neglects to appear in court.

Does a bond cost anything?

If you or a loved one find yourself in a bail situation, fully read the terms and understand the difference between cash bail and bond. In Texas, the rules for bonds vary depending upon the county, in general, however, the bondsman will charge 10 percent. This fee is non-refundable. Basically, bail bonds can be likened to insurance policies. Once paid, the defendant is allowed to go free until trial. If the accused skips town and misses court appearances, the money is forfeited to the court and the bail bond company has the right to seize the collateral.




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