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Where Does Bail Money Go Los Angeles

Where Does Bail Money Go? (2023)

September 14, 2022

Many people still don’t understand where bail money actually goes once it is paid, even though its such a huge part of the US legal system.

From being held by the court to being paid out to the surety company, bail money has to take a complex journey before being returned to the person who paid it. So, whether you’re posting bail for a loved one or for yourself, it’s important to understand the process and where your bail money is going.


What Is A Bail Bond And Where Does Bail Money Go?

A bail bond is an agreement between the defendant, a bail bond company and the court system. It allows the defendant to be released from jail while they await trial by paying a portion of the bail amount set by the court typically, around 10% of the bail amount. The purpose of a bail bond is to serve as a guarantee that the defendant will appear in court for all scheduled hearings. If the defendant doesn’t show up its the responsibility of the bail bond company to return them to custody by hiring individuals known as bounty hunters or bail enforcement agents who have been authorized by the court to bring back defendants who have failed to appear in court.
For instance in California, there is the California Department of Insurance (CDI) while other states have agencies. If you’re unsure about differentiating between terms like “bail” and “bond ” we recommend reading our blog post that will provide clarity on this topic.

Where Does bail money go

Where Does Bail Money Go?


Bail is a financial guarantee that the defendant will return to court as required and when an individual is arrested and charged with a crime, they may be given the option to post bail in order to be released from custody while they await trial.  The severity of the crime, the defendant’s criminal history, and the defendant’s ties to the community are all factors that affect the bail amount set by the court.

When an individual or their representative posts bail, the money goes towards the total bail amount set by the court. This money is held in a special account, usually managed by the court or a government agency, until the case is resolved.

A bail bondsman is a professional who acts as a surety that pledges money or property as bail for the appearance of a defendant in court and. When/If defendants do not have the cash on hand to pay for their bail, they will need to hire a bail bondsman.  A bail bondsman typically charges a non-refundable fee of 10% of the bail amount their services.

Where Does Bail Money Go

The bail money is usually returned once everything is done, to the person/entity that posted it. Minus any court fees or fines that may be imposed by the court.

If the defendant is found guilty, the bail money may be forfeited to the court.

In some cases, the bail money can be used to pay restitution to the victim if they have suffered financial losses as a result of the crime. If the defendant appears at all court dates as required and the case is dismissed, the bail amount will be returned in full.

It’s important to have in mind that bail money is not meant to be a punishment. Its there to make sure the defendant returns to court. If the defendant can’t afford to pay bail, they can apply for a public defender or a bail hearing to ask the judge to lower the bail or release them on their own recognizance.

But what happens if You Don’t Pay You Bail?

What If the Defendant Is Found Convicted For The Crime?

The court holds bail money until the case is resolved, as long as the arrested defendant appears in court at the designated required dates, bail amount will be provided back to the person who posted it. bail money can be used to pay court fines in some cases where the defendant is convicted.

What If the Defendant Is Found Convicted For The Crime?

If you’re using a bail bonds company to post bail, the premium you pay will not be paid back regardless of what happens with the case. However, should you choose to post the entire bail amount yourself, you will need to wait until the defendant has successfully appeared in court on all required dates and the case is resolved.

Where Does Bail Money Go If Charges Are Dropped?

Even if charges are dropped, defendants may not get their bail money back right away. Some jurisdictions will require you to  return of all or a portion of that money in order to be used towards fines, fees or restitution. Even when not required by law, this may still be part of the defendant’s individual release agreement and a part of the conditions to getting out on bail.

Its important to keep in mind that many factors can affect where your bail money will go!

How To Get Bail Money Back

Cash bail will be returned once the defendant appears in court as scheduled, is not found guilty and the case is dismissed. Even after a person is found not guilty or the charge is reduced, it can take up to 6 to 12 weeks for the bail amount to be returned. If the defendant fails to show up for scheduled court appearances, his or her bail amount will be forfeited. This can also result in a warrant for arrest being issued by police authorities.

How To Get Bail Money Back

How Is Bail Amount Determined?

The court or magistrate will decide on the bail amount, taking in to account a number of criteria including:

  • the likelihood of the defendant fleeing (flight risk)
  • prior criminal history
  • keeping the community safe
  • the severity of the crime committed
  • how dangerous the defendant is presumed to be

Reaching out to an attorney with experience in that jurisdiction for help to determine how much bail will be set is the best course of action. Feel free to also ask your bail bondsman for more information or learn more about how bail works in California.

Final Thoughts

We hope that this information has provided you with a better understanding of the court system and what happens to bail money after it has been posted. Consider how much the courts are asking for before deciding whether or not to post bail for yourself (or someone you care about). If you’re not prepared to pay the entire sum, you’ll want to find a reputable and affordable bail bonds company. The Bail Boys provides the fasted, cheapest and most reliable bail bonds services throughout Southern California. Give us a call to discuss your options today!

Our bond agents are available 24/7.

Call now at 866-914-0936 to schedule an immediate free phone consultation or fill out online request form for bail bond service!

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