How do I Post Bail?

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  • Written By: N. Madison
  • Edited By: Jenn Walker
  • Images By: Uros Petrovic, Ammentorp, Daniel Oines
  • Last Modified Date: 01 January 2020
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There are a few options a person has when he needs to post bail. The options available may vary in different court systems, however. In general, a person may post bail by paying the bail amount to the court or by going through a bail bondsman, who can post bail for him. In some cases, a person in this position may be able to pay 10 percent of his bail directly to the court instead of the full amount. In other cases, a court may be willing to accept property instead of money to secure a release from jail.

When a person is charged with a crime, he may have to wait weeks or even months before he is given a trial. Rather than having accused parties languish in jail during this time, courts may grant them release on bail. This basically means that a party or his loved ones can give cash or property to a court as security against the defendant's eventual return for trial. If the accused shows up for his court date, the money or property is returned to the person who pledged it. If the party does not show up, the pledge money or property may be forfeited.


One way to post bail is to pay the court the entire amount of bail it has set. Bail can typically be paid by the person who has been charged with a crime, his loved ones, or his lawyer. Many people want to avoid this option, as it often means coming up with a large amount of cash. With this method of posting bail, all of the money is usually returned when the accused shows up for court. If he does not show up, however, he may be arrested, and all of the bail money may be forfeited.

In an effort to avoid paying the full bail price, some people opt to work with a bail bondsman. In such a case, a bail bondsman typically pays the defendant's bail and guarantees his return for court. In return, the defendant, his loved ones, or his attorney pay the bondsman a non-returnable fee, usually about 10 percent of the total bail, and enter into a legal contract. If the party fails to show up for court, the bondsman may send a bounty hunter after him. The accused or the person who signs the bail bondsman contract may face a lawsuit for any money the bail bondsman lost in capturing him or may have forfeited to the court.

In some places, commercial bail bonding is illegal. In such a case, a person who needs to post bail won’t have the option of going to a bail bondsman. Many places that do not allow commercial bail bonding allow defendants to post 10 percent of their bail as a surety bond to the court instead. If the defendant shows up in court, the court returns this payment; if he fails to show, he stands to lose the 10 percent or be arrested.



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