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What is the Difference Between a Cash Bond and a Surety Bond?

A man counts cash here. If you need to understand the difference between a cash bond and a surety bond, speak with one of our bail bond agents.

Posted 7 months ago by admin


If you need to bail someone out of jail, the first things you might wonder are, “Can I afford it? And what is the difference between a cash bond and a surety bond? Which one should I choose?”

The answer to your third question usually depends on your answer to the first. If you can’t afford the cash bond, a surety bond may be the solution.

The Difference Between a Cash Bond and a Surety Bond

What are Cash Bonds?

Cash bonds would require the individual to pay the full bail amount to the court, which can typically be paid by cash, check, or credit card. In this case, the individual who was arrested may pay on their own, without the help of a family member or friend.

One benefit of cash bonds is that the full amount will be returned to the individual as long as the defendant appears at all required hearings and trials. In today’s COVID-19 era, many court hearings are held remotely by video, so the individual might not need to appear in the courthouse physically. 

As long as the defendant follows the rules, the bail money would be returned regardless of the outcome of the case. However, court fees and certain fines might not be returned, which is typically the case in any bond format.

Cash-only bail amounts tend to be very high, however, and are often chosen in serious felony cases. The reason for this is that a judge may be concerned that the individual is a flight risk or may cause harm to self or others upon release. Other reasons why a judge may require a cash bond is for outstanding child support, unpaid fines, or missed court appearances.

What are Surety Bonds?

In many cases, judges will allow surety bonds or 10% bonds.

With a surety bond, you may get your loved one out of jail by working with a bail bondsman. You would pay up to 10% of the full bail amount to the agency, which is considered a nonrefundable fee for the service. The bail bonds agency may also require some form of collateral such as a house or car. The agency would then pay the full amount to get your friend out of jail. 

The agency would be liable for the full bail amount if the defendant does not appear for court dates. If that does happen, the agency may seek the help of a bounty hunter to find the defendant, and the agency may be able to get their money back through the collateral. The good news is that it’s relatively rare for a defendant to skip bail, so you can have some peace of mind in helping your loved one get out of jail.

Do You Need a Surety Bond?

If you want to know more about the difference between a cash bond and a surety bond in order to bail someone out of jail, we are here for you. Our bail bond agents are available to help throughout metro Detroit, and you can reach us 24/7.  Call 313-244-0669 for bail bonds in Wayne County, Macomb County, Oakland County, or anywhere else in Michigan. We will respond as soon as possible.

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