What Happens to Bail and Bail Bonds if Charges Are Dropped?

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What Happens to Bail and Bail Bonds if Charges Are Dropped?

bail bonds charges dropped

If you’re someone who is in the process of paying bail or a bail bond, whether on behalf of yourself or someone you’re close to, you naturally want to know what’s going to happen to your money once it’s been paid — particularly in cases where all proper directions are followed and the proper procedure is observed. One such situation many in this position are often wondering about: What happens to this money if the charges in the case end up being dropped?

At Beehive Bail Bonds, we’re happy to offer 24/7 bail bond services to clients throughout Utah, with quality bail bond agents who will explain the precise details of this process to any client. What should you know about how the process will go if the charges involved in the case are dropped or otherwise altered, and will money be returned to whoever put it up? Here’s a basic primer.

Bail Money Paid Directly to Court

In some cases, such as if the required bail amount for a given incident was relatively low and could be afforded by the person arrested, this money will be paid directly to the court to secure release. And in any case where the resulting charges are dropped, this money will generally be returned directly by the state to whoever paid it.

Now, it’s important to note that this process typically won’t be immediate. It may take some time for the state to process paperwork, particularly if the charges were dropped as part of a plea bargain or similar deal.

But in any event, assuming there are no other complications and that you follow up with the court in a timely manner once charges have been dropped, you should get this money back without issue.

Bail Money Put Up Through Bail Bonds

In many other cases, however, defendants who are arrested (or their friends and family) will not have enough available funds to pay the full bail amount set by the court. In these cases, they may choose to work with a bail bond company, which will put up the full amount of bail in return for a non-refundable fee (usually 10% of the total bail amount) and some form of collateral.

In cases where charges are dropped or significantly altered after bail has been paid in this way, the court will typically refund the bail money back to the bail bond agency — as they were the ones who actually put up the true bail itself. From here, the general process is for the bail bond agency to return the bond amount paid by the defendant to them — but the fee they paid to the bail bond company to begin with is not refunded, as it’s considered earned for services rendered.

In some cases, a bail bond agency may also keep collateral put up as part of the deal if charges are dropped or dismissed; this is particularly common in cases where the collateral was put up in the form of property or jewelry, and not cash. If you have questions about this, your best bet is to speak with a bail bond agent directly to get all the details.

If you’re wondering why you still have to pay the fee in cases like this, the answer speaks to the simple fact that actions and time cost money. Even if your charges end up being dropped, the bail bond agency has provided a valuable service by allowing you to get out of jail faster than you otherwise would have — and they’ve earned their fee for providing that service.

The bottom line is this: if you’re working with a bail bond company, you shouldn’t expect to get your full bail money back in cases where charges are dropped or otherwise changed. But the process of getting out of jail will be significantly faster and easier, which is often easily worth the small expense.

Our next few sections will go over some related scenarios and how bail money is handled in these cases.

Bail Money and Plea Bargains

In most cases, if you or a loved one is facing charges and bail is set, working out a plea bargain with the prosecution will be in your best interest. This is particularly true if the evidence against you is strong, as taking a plea bargain will generally lead to reduced charges (and thus a lower bail amount) as opposed to risking everything on trial.

In these cases, the court may lower your bail amount based on the new charges filed against you as part of the plea bargain. And if you’ve already paid bail, this difference will be refunded to you (or to your bail bond company, in cases where a bail bond was posted).

Bail Money Refunds if Found Not Guilty

Down related lines, you will also receive a refund of your bail money if you are found not guilty at trial. In cases where a bail bond was posted, the bail bond company will receive the refund instead — but will still return the amount of bail paid to them by the defendant, minus their fee.

As with all other cases involving bail money refunds, it’s important to remember that it may take some time for the refund to actually be processed. In most cases, you should expect it to take at least a few weeks for the bail money (or bond) to be refunded in full. If it’s taking longer than this, your best bet is to follow up with the court or bail bond agency handling your case directly to check on the status of your refund.

For more on what happens to bail money if charges are dropped, or to learn about any of our bail bond services, speak to the pros at Beehive Bail Bonds today.

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