How Much Do Bail Bonds Cost?

Written by: Staff

Going to jail isn’t a fun experience, and if you want to be released from jail while in there, you’re going to have to post a bond.  A bail bond is what a person must post to the courts in order to leave the jail premises.  If you don’t have the funding to do so, a bail bonds service will be necessary.

Judges will be responsible for setting bail, and since most want to leave as soon as possible, jails will have a set bail schedule which allows you to get out of jail quickly.

Inside the jail by mark.watmough, on Flickr
Inside the jail” (CC BY 2.0) by mark.watmough

How much do bail bonds cost?

A cash bond will cost the full amount of the bail set by the judge.  This bond will vary depending on factors such as if the criminal is a risk, employment status, their criminal record, character, family ties and/or if they will bring harm to the community.  Every state will also have its own amount agents are allowed to charge.  Review our chart below for your state’s rules and regulations.  At a federal court level, rates are set at 15%, while immigration bonds are set at 20%.

Most bail bonds company are going to charge a 10% to 20% premium bail bonds fee.  For example, if the bail was $25,000, you would have to pay the bail bonds company $2,500 if the premium fee was 10%.  Again, this will depend on the local state regulations.

StateMaximum Bail Premium
AlaskaNo maximum
Arkansas10% maximum
California10% maximum
Colorado15% maximum
Connecticut$50.00 for bond amounts up to $500.00; 10% of the bond's face value for bond amounts from $500.00 to $5,000.00; and 7% of the bond's face value for bond amounts in excess of $5,000.00
DelawareNo maximum
District of ColumbiaNo private bail in this state
FloridaAt least 6.5%
GeorgiaCan't exceed 15% or $50, whichever is greater.
HawaiiNo maximum
IdahoNo maximum
IllinoisNo private bail in this state
IowaNo maximum
KansasNo maximum
KentuckyNo private bail in this state
LouisianaCan't exceed 12% or $120, whichever is greater.
MassachusettsNo private bail in this state
Michigan10% max
MinnesotaNo maximum
MississippiCan't exceed $50 or 10%, whichever is greater
MissouriNo maximum
MontanaNo maximum
NevadaCan't exceed $50 or 15%, whichever is greater.
New Hampshire10%
New Jersey10%
New Mexico10%
New York10% up to $3000, 8% for $3000-$10000, 6% for the amount over $10000.
North Carolina15%
North DakotaCan't exceed 10% or $75, whichever is greater.
OklahomaNo maximum
OregonNo private bail services in this state.
PennsylvaniaUp to 10% for first $100 and up to 5% for each additional $100
Rhode IslandBail bonds regulated by the courts
South CarolinaNo less than $25 and can't exceed 15%.
South DakotaNo maximum
TexasCounties regulate this, so it will vary.
WashingtonNo maximum
West Virginia10%
WisconsinThere is no private bail
WyomingNo maximum

Bail bonds overview

After you post bail, the bail bonds company will post your bail.  Once the court system receives this money, you will be released from jail.  Keep in mind you will have to show up in court on your court date to ensure that bail bonds company gets their money back.

Once a suspect posts bail, they must abide by the “conditions of release.”  If a suspect violates any of these orders, they may have their bail revoked and will be re-arrested.  These conditions often include “obeying the law” and other conditions that reflect the suspect’s crime.  For example, if he or she was accused of harassing a victim, they wouldn’t be able to contact this individual.

How do bail bonds work?

When someone is arrested for a crime, he or she will be taken to jail for booking.  During this process, you will have your fingerprints taken, a mugshot and will be asked for a statement.  From here, you will wait for your day in court.  During this time, which is usually during the week, the judge will set your bail if he or she decides to do so.

Bail is a financial arrangement a company will make on behalf of a defendant.  Acting for this individual, the company will arrange with the courts to allow the suspect to be released from jail in exchange for the bail (cash).  If this individual doesn’t show up for the court, the bail agency will be held responsible and will hire a bounty hunter to hunt this person down.

A bail bonds company will charge a premium fee, usually around 10% of the total, and this will be paid back, regardless of the verdict.  Depending on the situation, the company will either take assets from the defendant as a security deposit collateral or from a close family member.

If the defendant doesn’t show up for court and is eventually caught, he or she will be sued in court to recover the money, plus any fees.

What are the extra costs?

Some bail bonds companies will have an office fee that can start at $10+.  This is to file the paperwork and for other office expenses.

There could be an additional Sheriff’s fee, which can start at $10.

Tips to know:

If you bail someone out of jail, it could take months to get your money back.  The money won’t be returned until the necessary paperwork and the case is finished.

The bail bond agent usually won’t post the bond.  Instead, it will have to be either posted by the defendant or someone who knows them.

If the defendant decides to skip their court hearing, a bench warrant will be issued.  The only way the money will be returned is by bringing the defendant back within 90 days of the forfeiture.  This is usually the average for most state laws out there.

Many bond agents may require a co-signer.  In order to pay the bond, most will ask that it’s placed on a credit card.  Most will ask for an advanced payment.

If a suspect wants to post bail but they can’t afford it, a suspect can ask the judge to lower it.  Depending on the state, a special bail hearing may be held.

The Eighth Amendment requires bail shouldn’t be excessive and shouldn’t be designed to raise money for the government.  It shouldn’t be used to punish a person, either.

When choosing a company, make sure they are licensed in your jurisdiction.

Using the chart above, make sure they are abiding by the law.

Make sure every charge is explained and itemized before signing the contract.  Also, make sure you receive a copy of anything you sign.

The United States is the only country that allows bounty hunting.

Do you get bail money back?   If you paid cash on your own, you get the full amount back.  However, if you use a bail bonds company, you will be responsible for the premium fee.

How can I save money?

Try to set the bail yourself if you have the money.  Ask friends or family members for a temporary loan.  As long as you show up in court, you will get your money back.

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