It’s important to remember that cash bail is a perfectly good way to secure bail, if you have the means. However there are some reasons that you may prefer using a surety bond (bail bond) instead.
No fine/cost fees
When you pay with cash the court uses this money to deduct any court costs, fines or taxes incurred. These fees are deducted from the final amount you receive back. In rare cases these fees can end up being more than the cost of the bond itself! With a bail bond however, the money cannot be used to cover these fees.
Risk access to court appointed lawyer
One of the downsides to paying with cash is that it shows you have access to funds and could potentially pay for your own lawyer. This may in turn limit your chances of a court appointed lawyer.
The return of the cash isn’t guaranteed
When paying with cash there isn’t a complete guarantee you will get your money back. If the defendant blatantly avoids court hearings or doesn’t make sufficient effort to attend court proceedings, the right to have the money refunded is revoked. The failure to appear doesn’t always have to be intentional. The refund may be revoked even under circumstances that the defendant could not control.
If you are just a few minutes late or turn up in the wrong place for example you could forfeit your money. With a bail bond on the other hand, you are paying a proportion of the bail fee which is nonrefundable (usually 10%), not the full amount.
With cash bail you may be tying up your money, perhaps a lot of it, for a long period. Court cases can drag on for months. Most people have better things to do with their money than letting it sit in a judicial bank account for months on end.
Using a bondsman can add security to the defendant making all the court proceedings. The term, “beg forgiveness rather than ask for permission” has a different meaning when a defendant has to answer to a professional enforcement official rather than a close friend. Professional bail bondsmen aren’t the forgiving type. They will expect the defendant to make all proceedings.
Handle things more privately
When someone ends up in jail, the last thing they want is for everyone to know about it. In some cases, it may take several phone calls to find someone who can lend the money to post bail. With a bail bond it is possible to handle the entire process yourself. For some people this is the preferred option to keep things more private. Added to this the fact that if you do post cash bail, your information would technically be publicly available. A bail bondsman on the other hand will hold your information with strict confidence.
Each method of obtaining bail whether with a bail bond or cash bail has its own merits. There is no right or wrong answer. It comes down to personal circumstance and what suits the individual. There is no one solution that is necessarily better than another. However, with this information you , or someone you know can make a better, informed and rational decision as to which course of action is most appropriate.