Getting arrested can be scary and confusing.
One of the first things on your mind might be bail—the money you must pay to get out of jail before your trial.
This allows you to wait at home instead of behind bars for court dates. But what happens to the bail money when your case concludes?
Do you get it back?
Or does the court system keep it?
The Exoneration Process
If the person out on bail fulfills all their requirements, the bail will usually be “exonerated.”
This means the bail money is given back to whoever originally paid it.
For example, if you paid the full bail amount, you would get back the entire amount when the case is over.
If you used a bail bondsman, the bondsman would get the money back minus administrative fees.
To get bail exonerated, the released person must follow all the rules and attend all required court dates.
As long as you comply with the terms set by the judge, the bail money is returned when the case concludes.
So, being reliable about attending court is vital to seeing that money again.
When Bail is Forfeited
On the other hand, if the person misses court dates or breaks other terms of their release, the court will confiscate or “forfeit” the bail money.
This means whoever paid the bail loses that money, and the court system keeps it.
Even if you did everything right yourself, skipping court or committing new offenses can result in forfeiture.
In addition, the court may keep a portion of the bail money to cover administrative costs, even when the bail is exonerated.
For instance, if you paid $1,000 bail and followed the rules, you might get back $900 after deductions for fees.
Getting Forfeited Money Back
If your bail is forfeited due to a missed court date or other violations, it is still possible to get the money back in some cases.
You or your lawyer must file a motion with the court explaining why the terms were not followed.
For example, you may have missed a court date due to a medical emergency.
The court will then decide whether those reasons warrant returning the forfeited bail.
However, there is no guarantee that a judge will agree to return the money.
It depends on the unique circumstances of each case.
Understanding Bail Bonds
Getting your money back becomes even more complicated if you use a bail bond agent or company.
With a bondsman, you typically pay 10-15% of the total bail amount as a non-refundable fee.
The bondsman pays the remaining bail to the court on your behalf.
Even if a bondsman later exonerates the bail, you do not get back the portion you paid upfront.
The bondsman will recover their payment to the court but keep your original payment as their fee for posting the bond.
So, using a bail bond agent means sacrificing that percentage permanently.
Get Legal Guidance
As you can see, the bail process in Nevada involves many nuances.
To fully understand your options and obligations, consult an experienced criminal defense attorney.
They can provide personalized guidance based on the details of your case and advise you on the best path forward regarding bail and the potential return of funds.
Don’t leave it to chance – let a lawyer protect your rights and money.
Frequently Asked Questions
What if I used a bail bondsman? How can I get that money back?
If a bail bondsman were used, the process would be different. The bondsman keeps the 10-15% paid upfront as their fee and recovers the rest from the court when bail is exonerated. The portion already paid to the bondsman is not returned.
Does bail money go towards fines or fees I owe?
No, bail money is separate from any court fines or fees. Bail is to ensure court attendance. Fines must be paid separately.
What if I can’t afford the set bail amount?
Request a bail reduction hearing and argue for a lower bail with evidence showing the current amount is unaffordable. The judge may agree to reduce the bail to a payable amount.
If I violate release terms, can I bail out again?
Violating initial release terms may lead to bail revocation and reduce the chance of being granted bail again. But getting bail a second time is still possible, depending on the circumstances.
Who decides to bail money return?
The judge decides to exonerate bail or declare forfeiture. If extenuating circumstances exist, you or your attorney can file a motion asking for the return of forfeited money.
Is returned bail money taxable income?
No, returned bail money is not considered taxable income. Bail returns are not treated as income by the IRS. The total amount is yours to keep.
How long for bail return after exoneration?
After official exoneration, refund processing typically takes 30-60 days. For large amounts, it can sometimes take up to 6 months.
Bail – A monetary amount set by the court allows a person to be released from jail before trial.
Exonerate – To clear bail and have it returned to the payer after all court terms are fulfilled.
Forfeit – When the court keeps the bail money if a person violates release conditions.
Bail bondsman – A person who pays your full bail to the court in exchange for 10-15% of the bail amount upfront.
Bail reduction hearing – A legal proceeding requesting lower bail based on inability to pay the current amount set.
Motion – A formal written request filed with the court asking for a specific ruling or action.
Extenuating circumstances – Exceptional situations that provide context for why bail terms may have been violated.
Administrative fees – The portion of returned bail money the court keeps to cover processing costs.
Additional Resources for You
We want to remind our readers that our lead attorney, Molly Rosenblum, Esq, has created a wealth of resources to aid you in your time of need.
- For those in need of legal representation in criminal cases, visit our Criminal Defense Attorneys page.
- Information on Felonies in Nevada can be found here.
- Our team of attorneys answer your questions about legal rights during police interrogations on the Attorneys Answer Your Questions About Miranda Rights page.
- If you’re facing firearm-related charges, our Firearms Defense Lawyers are ready to help.
- Visit the Theft Defense Lawyers page for legal help with theft charges.
- Learn how we approach Winning Felony Cases in Nevada here.
- Facing drug possession charges? Our Drug Possession Defense Lawyer can help.
- Have questions about marijuana possession? Find your answers on Marijuana Possession Questions? We’ve Got Answers. page.
- For legal help with juvenile charges, check out our Juvenile Defense Lawyers and Juvenile Charges: Get Legal Advice pages.
- If you’ve been charged with solicitation, learn how we can assist on the Charged with Solicitation? We Can Help. page.
- Need help with a traffic ticket in Nevada? Visit our Nevada Traffic Tickets page.
- Our Warrant Defense Attorneys can provide assistance if you’re dealing with a warrant.
- Understand if you need to hire a lawyer for a misdemeanor charge on our Do You Need to Hire a Lawyer for Misdemeanor Charges? page.
- Got questions about the Nevada arraignment process? Visit our The Nevada Arraignment – Frequently Asked Questions page.
- Learn about the process of sealing criminal records in Nevada on our The Definitive Guide to Sealing Criminal Records in Nevada page.
- If you’re facing sex crime charges, our Sex Crime Defense Attorneys are here to help.
- Learn about Nevada shoplifting laws on our Nevada Shoplifting Laws page.
- If you’re facing charges related to gang crimes, our Gang Crimes Lawyer can assist.
- Understand the difference between murder and homicide on our Murder vs Homicide page.
- Learn about the crime of extortion and how to defend against it on our Extortion page.
Offsite Resources You May Find Helpful
Nevada Legal Services: This is a non-profit organization providing free legal services to low income Nevadans. They have comprehensive resources and legal aid for individuals who cannot afford an attorney.
American Bar Association: The ABA has a page explaining how the bail system works in the United States. It provides a good general overview of bail, which could help readers understand the nuances of the bail system in Nevada.
FindLaw: This online resource for legal information has a detailed section on bail bonds, providing valuable insights into the process of using a bail bondsman, the associated fees, and what happens if bail conditions are violated.
A Special Message from Our Lead Attorney
Molly Rosenblum, Esq
I want to extend my sincere gratitude for taking the time to explore our resources for obtaining your bail money back.
We understand how stressful and overwhelming this process can be, and it’s our mission to provide clear, accessible guidance to help you through it.
Everyone deserves a robust and dedicated defense, and our team at
The Rosenblum Allen Law Firm is here to provide just that. We work tirelessly to protect our clients’ rights and interests at every turn.
If you need further advice or are interested in discussing your case more thoroughly, I invite you to schedule a free consultation with our team.
We would be happy to sit down with you, answer your questions, and explore the best possible strategies for your situation.
Please don’t hesitate to reach out.
You can call us at (702) 433-2889 to arrange your free consultation.
We are here to help and look forward to hearing from you soon.
Molly Rosenblum, Esq.