How Can You Pay For Bail?

If you or someone you know has been arrested, you may need to pay bail. In some cases, however, you may not be able to afford it. Luckily, there are plenty of ways to pay for bail. Check out these four common methods.

No Pay

Typically, when you get arrested for a crime you are granted bail, but you have to pay money. This money is like insurance that you will show up for your court date instead of trying to flee. This is because if you do show up to court, the money is returned minus any fees. However, if you fail to show up, you lose all the money.

In some cases, however, no bail is needed, and you are released on your own recognizance (OR). This is usually reserved for minor crimes from people with no criminal record. You still must show up to court, and if you don't, you will be fined. As with probation, the judge can place some conditions on your release, such as not drinking.


If you do need to pay bail to be released from jail, there are many options to consider. Using property as collateral is one common method. The collateral must be enough to cover the cost of the bail, however, so you may need to put your home or car up as collateral. If you do use your home or car as collateral, you still get to keep them while you wait for your court date, but if you don't show up, the item is seized.

Smaller items, such as jewelry are usually given to the bail agent who will hold it until the court hearing. As long as you show up to court, the items are returned, but you may still owe some money in fees and penalties.


Another way you can pay for bail is with cash. If you have enough on you, at home or another location (and someone can get it for you), you can simply use the cash to pay for your bail. The benefit of using cash is that you don't have to repay interest on a loan. Plus, you don't have to worry about something happening to your home or car if you use them as collateral.

As with collateral, as long as you show up to your court hearing, the money is returned, but you may still need to pay fees. On the other hand, if you don't show up, the money is lost. Keep in mind that if someone pays your bail, and you don't show up, they lose their money too.

Bail Agent

The last option is to take out a loan from a bail agent. Bail agents offer surety bonds for your bail. The money is used on your behalf to pay your bail, and when you show up to court for your heating, the money is returned to the bail agent. You will likely be responsible for interest on the loan, however. Also, if you don't show up to court, the bail agent loses their money. Of course, since this is a business for them, they will usually send a bounty hunter to find you, so they can get their money.

In some cases, to get the surety bond, you may still need collateral, or you may need a co-signer to help reduce the risk to the lender. This means they are partially responsible for your loan too. The great thing about bail bonds, however, is that you can usually get one at any time and on any day, so you don't have to wait until the work week for bail.

If you or someone you know has been arrested, you should know the different ways you can pay for bail. If you would like more information regarding bail bonds, contact a bail agent in your area today or visit a site like