Paying bail to be released from jail while you await your court date is a sort of promise to the court that you will, indeed, return.
You can pay the full amount of bail to the court if you have the cash on hand. You can also pay a percentage to a bail bond company, who will then cover the rest. Bail bondsmen usually charge a fee of 10% to 30% of your full bail amount.
When you originally pay bail, the court system will hold on to your money. If you show up to all of your assigned court dates and are exonerated, the money will be returned to you within a few weeks. However, if you fail to make your court dates and a warrant for your arrest is issued, you forfeit the money you initially paid.
If you paid your bail to the local court system directly, it’ll be refunded if you’ve been found innocent or if the charges are dropped. If you went through a bail bondsman, they will keep a percentage to cover their fees, regardless of the outcome.