What To Do When The Judge Orders A Cash-Only Bail

Depending on the circumstances, sometimes a judge will order cash-only bail in a defendant's case. The defendant can still bail out of jail but must pay the required amount in cash only, no bail bonds allowed. This presents a financial problem for many people who can't even cover a $500 emergency, but here are two ways to overcome this issue if you find yourself in this situation with no money.

Look for Specialty Bail Bondsman

Most bail bond companies will not take cash-only bail cases, because the risk of losing money is too high. With bail bonds—which are a type of surety insurance—it's the insurance companies guaranteeing the bonds that stands to lose money if bail is forfeited because defendants fail to appear for court. On the other hand, a bondsman that pays a cash-only bail will lose their own money if a defendant doesn't show up.

That isn't to say no bail bond companies will do it, just that it may take a few tries before you find someone willing to help you. Additionally, you may be required to put up collateral to secure the bond, typically something the company can sell to recoup its losses in case of bail forfeiture. For instance, if bail is set at $10,000, you may be required to sign over your vehicle to guarantee the bond.

It's important to read the contract when working with a bondsman that does cash-bail to ensure you understand what you'll be liable for in case of forfeiture and when any collateral you put up will be returned.

Contact a Bail Non-Profit Organization

If there are no bondsman in your area who takes cash-only bail cases, another option is to contact non-profit organizations that help defendants get out of jail. These charities accept donations and then use that money to free individuals who just cannot afford the amount ordered by the court.

Like any charitable fund, these organizations typically have minimum requirements applicants must meet to qualify for assistance. For instance, there may be income restrictions, or only defendants who have been charged with certain crimes (e.g. misdemeanors only) may qualify. Additionally, the assistance may be limited to a certain amount (e.g., only up to $5,000 per client), and you would have to come up with any remaining balance that is not covered.

You can find organizations near you by searching on the internet. However, your local bail bond company may also be able to point you in the right direction.

For more information about cash-only bail or help getting a defendant released, contact a bail bonds company in your area.