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Cash Bond vs Surety Bond: What’s the Difference?

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October 7, 2020  |  Posted by Balboa Bail Bonds Team  |  Bail Bonds

Not many people are educated about the different kinds of bonds until they are suddenly faced with an arrest and desperately need help to post bail. Knowing the different kinds of bonds, how they work, what is required of you, and the differences between them can help move the process forward faster and get you back at home where you belong as quickly as possible.

The two most commonly used bonds are cash bonds and surety bonds. So, the question then becomes, what is the difference between a cash bond and a surety bond? And which one works best for your needs?

Cash Bonds

When you are granted bail, you have the option to pay for it yourself. When you pay the court directly, you will have to use a cash bond. This means that you hand over the complete amount to the court in cash. The good news with this bond type is that once your trial is over, the cash bond will be returned to you. That is, if you have attended all court hearings on time. Missing a court appearance or arriving late could result in your bond becoming forfeit. This means that the court has seized the bond and will not return it, even after your trial has concluded.

While a cash bond is quick and easy to understand, it is also risky. Bail can be set high, and paying for a cash bond, even if the money is returned, means that you could be out thousands of dollars. If your bail is ruled forfeit, then you could lose that money entirely. But this is only an option if you can even afford a cash bond to begin with. Many people live paycheck to paycheck these days. Being asked to hand over $5,000 can simply be impossible for you or, at the very least, very tight. That is where surety bonds come in.

Surety Bonds

If you determine that a cash bond is not what works best for you, then you can contact a bail bond agency. When you ask an agency to pay your bail for you, that is considered a surety bond. These agencies can transfer the payment to the court, allowing you to go free without having to pay a cent upfront. However, a surety bond is not automatic. You may be asked to apply first, and if the agency feels you are not trustworthy or have poor credit or financials, then you may be denied.

On top of that, a surety bond is not “free.” While you may not have to pay upfront, bail bond agencies will still ask for a premium to be paid. Usually, this premium is 10-15% of the original bail amount. That means that for bail set at $5,000, you will actually only have to pay $500-550 to the agency. However, even if the bail does not end up forfeit and is returned, you will still be expected to pay that premium. On top of that, if the bail does become forfeit, then the bail bond agency is now out of money, and there may be further fees you must pay or other monetary consequences.

The Key Differences

Ultimately, the biggest difference between a cash bond and a surety bond is the number of parties involved, as well as the amount that you will be expected to pay. With a cash bond, there are just two parties: you and the court. You must pay the entire bail upfront, but you may be able to get the money back after the trial. With a surety bond, there are three parties: you, the court, and the agency. You won’t have to pay anything to be released from jail but will still owe the premium.

Which option works best for you will depend largely on your financial situation. However, we at Balboa Bail Bonds can help make the decision a little easier. Our premiums are some of the lowest in the industry, at just 10%. On top of that, when you work with us, you get more than just bail.

Our agents are well-versed in the criminal justice process and can offer you expert support, answering any and all questions relating to your trial. Even better, our agents also work hard to have a close relationship with all local courts. If you find yourself running late or missing a court appearance, there is the chance that your bail bond agent can contact the court on your behalf and keep the bail from becoming forfeit.

Our team at Balboa Bail Bonds will always put you first, which is why all of our agents are required to have 10 years of experience before working with us and why we offer flexible payment plans to fit our clients’ budgets. If you or a loved one are facing arrest in San Diego, Riverside, or Orange County, call our agency at (619) 760-2222 and speak to one of our many skilled agents today.

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