Do you have a family member facing a Connecticut criminal charge? You may consider bail options to help your loved one get out of jail while they await trial and sentencing. However, bail amounts tend to be steep, especially if your loved one faces a charge for a serious crime.
Before posting bail, you likely want assurance that you will be getting bail money back, especially if your family member complies with all bail conditions and returns to court for the trial.
Where does the bail money go? In this guide, our Connecticut Bail Bonds Group team discusses what happens to your money after posting bail.
How Do Bail Bonds Work?
Before discussing what happens to bail money, it might be helpful to look at how bail bonds work.
After the police arrest someone, the booking process is the first step. The arresting officer who charges the accused will take them to the police station for further questioning or interrogation. The police will also take the accused’s fingerprints and photographs.
The accused remains in police custody after arrest. Within 48 hours of arrest, the accused will go before a judge to hear the charges and set the bail terms. During this hearing, the judge will also set the bail amount.
Bail is the money the defendant pays as collateral, assuring the court that they will return for the trial. The factors determining the bail amount include:
- The nature of the offense
- The defendant’s criminal history
- The defendant’s past court appearances
- The danger to the public
- The risk of the defendant fleeing to avoid prosecution
Once the court sets bail, the defendant or their family members can pay the amount in full to the court, in which case the defendant is free to leave.
However, the court can set a bail amount of thousands of dollars, especially if the defendant committed a serious crime. In the case of severe crimes, such as murder, the court doesn’t grant bail to defendants. When bail amounts are at the high end, family members typically also don’t have the financial resources to post bail on behalf of their loved ones.
If you don’t have the funds to pay the bail amount that the court demands, you can approach a bail bonds company, which will post bail on behalf of your family member. However, a bail bondsman charges a non-refundable fee, a percentage of the bail amount.
For example, suppose the bail amount is $2,000, and the bail bondsman charges a 10% fee. In this case, the bail bondsman will post the full $2,000 to the court as a promise that the defendant will return for the hearing. The non-refundable fee for this service is $200, in addition to any fixed rates the company may charge.
To understand how bail bond fees work, use this bail bond calculator. Reputable bail bond companies offer repayment plans, in which case you will need to pay a deposit that is a percentage of the bail amount.
Where Does the Bail Money Go?
The court system holds on to the money that a defendant, their family member, or a bail bond company posts as bail.
The funds remain in the court system’s possession throughout the criminal proceedings. Once the case draws to a close after sentencing, the court will repay the entire bail amount to the person who posted it, provided that the defendant:
- Showed up for all hearings
- Complied with all bail restrictions
Failure to comply with the bail conditions can result in bail forfeiture. In other words, if the defendant fails to appear for a hearing or comply with a bond condition, the court will not repay the bond amount. In this case, the city or county may gain access to the funds for public use.
For example, suppose the court ordered the defendant not to leave Connecticut during the trial. In this case, if the defendant leaves the state during this period, the person who posted bail on their behalf will lose the money. This breach might lead to bail forfeiture even if the defendant appeared for all their hearings.
Additionally, bail forfeiture can occur regardless of who posted the bail amount. The court doesn’t make an exception to accommodate family members who want to help a defendant.
Can I Get the Bail Money Back?
Bail is a monetary payment, assurance that the defendant will adhere to conditions for release from custody – it doesn’t form part of the penalty.
Suppose the prosecution drops the charges against the defendant, the jury returns a verdict of not guilty, or the court grants a motion for a judgment of acquittal. In any of these cases, the court will repay the bail amount to the person who posted it.
However, the court will repay the bail if the judge or jury finds the defendant guilty. The outcome of the criminal proceedings does not determine whether the court repays the bail amount. If the defendant complies with the bail restrictions, you can reasonably expect to get your money back.
The Impact of Fees and Fines on Bail Repayments
Under Connecticut law, the court may use the bail money to cover fees and fines arising from the criminal proceedings. These payments are not refundable, so you may not get the full bail amount back.
However, the court will not use the bail money to cover fines payable to a victim or the victim’s family.
Need Bail Bonds in Connecticut?
Taking advantage of bail bond services can save you thousands of dollars if you have a family member in custody. At Connecticut Bail Bonds Group, our licensed and insured bail bondsmen are on 24/7 standby to help you get your loved one out of jail.
In addition to helping you post bail, we will also assist you in navigating the entire booking and bail process, eliminating overwhelm and stress. Our bail bonding services are available throughout Connecticut. Call us today to schedule a free consultation and receive a high-end bail bond experience.