The bail system, one that is in place across the United States including in Clayton, allows recently incarcerated individuals to post a specific amount of money in exchange for their freedom before trial. While some money does go to the court system for a period of time, it is meant to only act as collateral, and can generally be fully retrieved once the trial has commenced. Of course, doing so takes a few steps, and anyone wishing to get their bail money back should perform the following measures:


The whole point of the bail system is to allow those sitting in jail the ability to live freely up until their trial begins. The bail money is a form of collateral, and it is held to ensure the return of the incarcerated. Failure to appear in court will permanently relinquish the cash as well as give the criminal justice system further reason to see this person as a flight risk in the future. So the first step in getting bail money back is simply showing up for the court proceedings.


Depending on the allegations, as well as the schedule of the court, trial may take only a single afternoon, a few days or even a week. It may seem smart to avoid a conviction by abandoning the trial before the sentence is passed but doing this will once again sacrifice the bail money and lead to harsher penalties in the future. To make sure that you see your money again, stick around for the entirety of the trial, including sentencing.


In virtually all jurisdictions throughout the United States, once a trial has been concluded, if bail was involved, the judge will then issue an order for the return of the bail amount to the defendant. This is called “exoneration” of the bail. This means that the bail money no longer belongs to the court system, and is free to be returned to the defendant at any time. Once this occurs, the municipal Department of Finance will write a check for the amount required and mail it to the defendant in a few weeks. The city will also hold onto a small portion of the money that you paid if the trial ended in a conviction. Otherwise, the full amount will be returned shortly afterwards.


Paying the bail amount set in your case is the easiest way to see freedom before the beginning of your trial. Consider these steps as you take care of your legal matters and you could certainly see your bail in the mail. Any concerns you have with your bail amount can be discussed with the Department of Finance.