So, you have suffered the inconvenience caused by being misunderstood by the law or the wrongful consequences of having done absolutely nothing wrong. The emotional and mental trauma aside, you have invested a good deal of money in acquiring the bail, so how do you get back some sense of relief from the ordeal? How do you get back your bail money?

If the defendant has made the court appearances as required by the court and has paid a cash bail for release, then upon being proven guilt-free, he or she should be returned the bail when the case is ordered to close. Often times, the case is closed, but the defendant is left in a lurch without his money and without any proper advice about how to get his money back. After the closing of the case, the judge (usually) issues an order for the return of the bail; it is also called ‘exonerating’ the bail. If the case has ended in conviction, then the government will retain 3 percent of the bail amount. The bail bondsman, if you had hired any, will also keep his or her part of the fee. It ranges from 10 to 30 per cent, depending on the amount of the bail, seriousness of offence and the defendant’s criminal record. The bondsman does not return any money for bonding out the defendant, whether he or she is declared innocent or guilty. If you paid directly to the court, you will receive a full refund, but when a bail bondsman is involved, the refund will be reduced.

To acquire the money, you must keep a tab on the defendant’s case. There are only two likely scenarios in which the bail money will be returned, either the person must be acquitted or all charges must be dropped. If found guilty, the bail money will be applied to court fees, which means that you might not get all of the money back.

Keep a tab on the different court dates and mark the exact date the case was closed or it ended. When you have kept track of these dates, you will know when you will get your money back.

The City Finance Department usually issues a refund of the bail amount, upon receiving proper documentation, within 2 weeks of receiving the court order. It takes about 4-6 weeks for the check to come to you via mail. If it doesn’t arrive, then it is appropriate to contact the court with your records, to enquire with them.

Ensure that the defendant shows up in court when asked to, in order to get full refund on the bail amount. If the person does not show up in court, then the money can and will be forfeited and you might not see it again. If you did not pay cash and kept a property bond as bail then you will be paid the cash amount of the properties worth if the case is resolved in a non-acquittal.

Be sure to find out what the specific nature of your case is, before you fight for a bail refund.

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