In most cases when a person has been arrested they call a friend or, more likely, a loved one and ask them for help making bail. The loved one then contacts a bail bonds agent, puts up collateral to secure a bond for the full bail amount, signs a contract indicating they accept responsibility for the person being bailed out and then the bail agent posts the bond. If the person who was bailed out meets all the conditions of their release and is cleared of the charges, or the charges are dropped, then the bond is cleared and any lien against assets is removed. But what if you pay the full cash amount yourself? How do get that back? Do you get that back?

How to Get Your Cash Bail Money Back

Where’s My Money?

So, let’s say you posted your own cash bail for $10,000. After a couple of months of waiting and a 3-day trial you were found “not guilty”, just like you knew you would be. You walk out of court a free man and can’t wait to finally get that 10 grand back that the state’s been holding as an “incentive” for you to play nice. A week passes. No money. Okay, governments can’t typically be called “efficient”. It will come soon. Two weeks pass. Then three weeks. Then a month. Still, no money. Okay, now you’re getting worried. But the truth is there is no reason to hit the panic button yet. Especially if you live in Denver. Things take time. In fact, it might take as much as 6 weeks for your refund check to arrive.

Did You Pay the Court or Use a Bondsman?

The first thing to do if you think your refund is late is ask yourself this question: “Did I pay the court or a bondsman?”

  • If you paid the court directly then you should have your money within 4 - 6 weeks. It usually takes a couple of weeks from the date the city Finance Department receives notice that the case has been closed for them to start moving on the refund. After that it has to wend its way through various offices and get various approvals before it’s actually sent off to you.
  • If you used a bondsman as an intermediary you should have seen your refund much quicker. Perhaps you didn’t because the bail bonding agent is busy and has simply lost track of your case. Or, it could be they have the refund waiting for you but forgot to alert you. Or maybe you changed your phone number for some reason and forgot to give it to them. Whatever the case, if you suddenly remember you used an agent contact them immediately. They’ll straighten it out.

Still No Money

Okay, let’s say that you are certain you paid the cash bail directly to the court and it’s now been more than 6 weeks without a peep. Or a check. It’s time to act. But what should you do?

Gather Your Facts

If you contact the court with incomplete information you’ll get nowhere. They’ll tell you to call back when you have all the facts. So don’t even bother calling before you have gathered up all the relevant information. In this case, as is usually the case when you deal with bureaucracy, it’s better to have too much information at hand than not enough. What does that mean? The means make sure you have the case number, the charge, the verdict, and the date the case was closed. It may also be helpful to know the amount of bail, the method of payment, the date and time of the payment and who made the payment (was it you or a loved one or maybe a friend). Also, keep in mind that if you moved from Adams County to Broomfield County or Weld County since you posted bail and you did not inform the court that could be the reason you have not received your refund.

Make the Call

Once you have all the relevant information it’s time to call the court. If you’re upset as you punch in the numbers put the phone down and take a few breaths. It won’t do any good to start yelling and screaming. Remember, they may not have done anything wrong. The fault may be with you for failing to notify them that some aspect of your contact information changed. Or maybe someone else in your house accidentally threw away the refund check thinking it was junk mail. At this point you still don’t know. So, you need to be at your diplomatic best.

Be Patient and Civil

Get to the point and avoid slinging around accusations or reminding them that, as public servants, they work for you and not the other way around. None of that will help. Instead, simply explain that you’ve been waiting more than 6 weeks and ask if there is some sort of problem with your refund. They’ll likely ask you questions about you and your case. Answer them all clearly and completely. If there was a problem with your address or other information they’ll tell you. If the check recently went out, they’ll tell you. If it went out 6 weeks ago it will likely have to be voided and new check issued.

If you have any questions regarding the bail process give Rapid Release Bail Bonds a call at (720) 988-8304.