If you or a loved one is accused in a court of law, the judge may set an amount of money to be paid to secure their release from custody during the trial. This is what is called bail. Failure to pay bail may cause inconveniences to the defendant, including loss of income.
If this cash is paid by the defendant or their family members, then it is called a collateral bail bond or cash bond. When issued by a bail bond company, it becomes a surety bond.
How it Works
If you opt for a surety bond, you will have to involve a surety company. The company pays the bail amount on the defendant's behalf at a fee. If the bail is particularly high, the surety company may require additional collateral, such as property, vehicle or jewelry.
Cash bail bond involves the defendant or a family member and the court. The defendant or family member pays the bail amount directly to the court.
What are the Pros and Cons of each of these bonds?
Collateral Bail Bonds
They are simple and easy to transact. You get the money, pay the court and the defendant attends a trial. After the trial, you get your money back, less minor court charges.
Collateral bail bonds can be hard to raise; especially if the bail amount is high. It may also take some time to get your money refunded after the trial. You may also not get your money in full. Apart from court charges, some jurisdictions will deduct other fees such as taxes and child support.
With surety bonds, it is relatively easy to raise the required amount as you'll only have a small fee to pay to the surety company. You also get your money back as soon as the trial ends. There is also no risk of unexpected deductions apart from court fees.
On the downside, accessing a surety bond is not automatic. You have to apply for it and wait for approval. Your application may be rejected if you have a poor financial record.
You will also have more fees to pay. You will pay the surety company, in addition to paying the court. The choice between a collateral bail bonds and a surety bond will depend on where you are financially. If the bail amount is affordable and you are comfortable financially, then you may want to go for a collateral bail bond.
On the other hand, if you have problems raising bail, then a surety bond may be the way to go.