Why are Bail Bond Fees Non-Refundable?

Bail agents get asked this question often. A bail bond fee, also known as a premium, is akin to an insurance product where an individual pays the price for a product or service. In the bail bond case, the bail agent offers to get your loved one out of jail and assume financial liability for the defendant. They also guarantee that the defendant will appear for all required court appearances. Many applications for services also charge non-refundable fees, such as an application for enrollment in school or a loan application.

Don’t Pay Your Bail

In return, the bail agent requires a non-refundable fee. This fee, usually 10 percent of the total bond and some form of collateral, is far less than you’d have to pay out-of-pocket. Bail bonds offer the defendant a chance to be freed from jail for a fraction of the total bail amount. Bail amounts will vary depending on the charge. Many non-violent misdemeanor offenses have bail amounts of $500, with more violent or severe crimes having higher bail amounts. For instance, a battery charge can have bail set at $2,500. Posting bail directly with the court would require that you pay $2,500 for release, and many people don’t have the resources to do that. Using the services of a bail agent would require a non-refundable fee of $250. The bail agent would then guarantee the bail amount to the court on behalf of the defendant. If the defendant fails to appear in court, the bail agent must pay the total amount of the bond to the court.

What Is Collateral?

Collateral is an extra layer of accountability for the defendant to adhere to conditions of release. Unlike the non-refundable fee, we return collateral after the defendant’s court case. And, if they appeared at all, they required court hearings and paid off all financial obligations. But, again, this is regardless of whether the defendant is found guilty, innocent, or they drop the charges.

We require a co-signer as another layer of accountability. A co-signer is financially stable and accepts the financial burden of a defendant’s appearance. They are obligated legally to fulfill the bail bond requirements to the bail agent and court.

Regardless of the case’s outcome, the bail agent delivered the services outlined in the bail contract; the disposition of a defendant’s case was not part of the financial transaction. Instead, the premium paid was for the services and expertise rendered by the bail agent to get a defendant released from jail and guarantee their appearance in court.

The Bail Industry Saves Taxpayers Money

The bail bond industry saves taxpayers millions of dollars annually and is user-funded. In addition, bail agents live and work in communities all across the country – their services are invaluable to public safety and the overall criminal justice system.