Do You Get Bail Money Back If Charges Are Dropped?


When someone is charged with a crime, they may be required to post bail in order to be released from jail before their trial. However, if the charges are dropped, many people wonder if they will get their bail money back. In this article, we will explore the answer to this question and provide some important information about bail.

What is Bail?

Bail is a sum of money that a defendant pays to the court as a guarantee that they will appear for their trial. The amount of bail is determined by the judge and is based on several factors, including the severity of the crime, the defendant’s criminal record, and the likelihood that they will flee.

How Does Bail Work?

When someone posts bail, they typically pay 10% of the total amount set by the judge to a bail bondsman. The bondsman then pays the full amount to the court as a guarantee that the defendant will appear for their trial. If the defendant fails to appear, the bondsman is responsible for paying the full amount of the bail to the court.

Do You Get Bail Money Back if Charges Are Dropped?

The answer to this question is generally yes. If the charges against a defendant are dropped, dismissed, or they are found not guilty, they are entitled to get their bail money back. However, there are some exceptions to this rule.

Exceptions to Getting Bail Money Back

If the defendant skips bail and fails to appear in court, they forfeit their bail money. Additionally, if the defendant violates the conditions of their bail, such as committing another crime while out on bail, they may also forfeit their bail money.

How Long Does it Take to Get Bail Money Back?

The process of getting your bail money back can take several weeks or even months, depending on the jurisdiction. Once the charges are dropped, the court will typically issue a release order that authorizes the return of the bail money. However, this process can be delayed if there are outstanding fines or fees that need to be paid.

Can You Get a Refund if You Paid the Full Amount of Bail?

If you paid the full amount of bail to the court, you may be entitled to a refund if the charges are dropped. However, this process can be more complicated than if you worked with a bail bondsman. You will need to contact the court directly to find out what steps you need to take to get your money back.

What Happens if You Can’t Afford Bail?

If you can’t afford to pay bail, you may be able to work with a bail bondsman. The bondsman will charge you a fee, typically 10% of the total bail amount, and will post the full amount of bail with the court. This can be a good option for people who don’t have the cash on hand to pay the full amount of bail.


Getting arrested and charged with a crime can be a stressful and overwhelming experience. If you are required to post bail, it’s important to understand your rights and what to expect. While you can generally expect to get your bail money back if the charges are dropped, it’s important to be aware of the exceptions and potential delays in the process.