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CLERK OF COURT & COMPTROLLER

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, FLORIDA

Cash Bond Refunds

What is a cash bail bond?

A cash bail bond, typically referred to as “cash only bail bond” or a "cash bond", is a Court-ordered financial guarantee requiring the full amount of the bail to be paid in cash.  This is in contrast to the more commonly known “Surety Bond” which may be purchased from a licensed bail bond agent for 10-15 percent of the bond amount.  Cash bonds are assigned by the Court for a variety of reasons, including: failure to pay fines, failure to appear for a scheduled hearing, out-of-jurisdictional warrants and for defendants (the accused) that are considered high risk where the chance of a their failure to appear in court is great.

Why does the court order cash bail bonds?

Cash bonds are set by the court for a variety of reasons, including the most common causes: failure to pay a fine on a prior case, arrest on an out-of-jurisdictional warrant, and failure to appear before the court on a scheduled appearance.  In these cases, the court orders a cash-only bond in an attempt to secure a cash fine or ensure the appearance of a defendant (the accused) who may be considered to be a flight risk.

If the defendant or his family posts the bond, the court may opt to retain the cash as payment toward fines and court costs.

How do I get my money back if the defendant fails to appear?

A Failure to Appear (FTA) is a charge issued by the court when the defendant (the accused) fails to appear to a scheduled court hearing.  When the defendant fails to appear, the court will schedule a Forfeiture Hearing and issue a warrant for the defendant’s arrest.  Within 10 days after the issuance of the warrant, the court shall notify the surety (bail bond agent), in writing or by electronic means, that the warrant was issued. The court shall also set a hearing within a reasonable time not to exceed 120 days requiring the parties and any surety to show cause why the bond should not be forfeited.  If the Defendant cannot be located before the forfeiture hearing, the bond will be forfeited.

If the defendant’s non-appearance was a result of a misunderstanding or unavoidable circumstance, the defendant may be able to reschedule his/her missed hearing by contacting the court and explaining their circumstance.  If the court is willing to reschedule, then the bond forfeiture may be cancelled at the next hearing. For more information, see the Cash Bond Depositor Instructions.

How are cash bond refunds processed?

The Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office collects the cash bail bonds posted on behalf of the defendant (the accused), but transmits the monies to the Clerk of the Circuit Court (Clerk). The Clerk is responsible for processing the distribution of the cash bonds post disposition. Read the Cash Bond Depositor Instructions for more information.