Frequently Asked Questions

Questions About Betterbail

Is Betterbail a law firm?

No. Betterbail is not a law firm. If you need legal help, Atticus is a free service for finding legal help.

How much does Betterbail cost?

Betterbail is free to use. If you use the platform to purchase a bail bond, Betterbail receives a share of the fee paid to the bond agent.

Can I complete the entire process online?

Yes, for all bail amounts under $10,000. For bails above that amount, an in-person meeting may be required.

Can I pay with credit card?

Yes. Betterbail accepts all major credit cards. A 3% fee will be assessed on any credit card payment.

Why choose Betterbail?

Simple: Betterbail guarantees the fastest service, at the best rate.

What makes Betterbail faster?

We're faster becuase we've automated key parts of the bail process, bringing the system online. With our platform, you can provide everything needed to secure a bond, all from your computer or cell phone. Our platform automatically handles the paperwork, verification of identity, and payment. Once you've completed the process, Betterbail immediately dispatches an agent to secure the release of your friend or family member.

Some bond agencies delay delivery of bonds in order to bunch deliveries. Bonds arranged through Betterbail, however, are always served as soon as possible. Immediate service is guarunteed by our agreements with the agencies we contract with.

How do the rates offered on Betterbail compare with those of other bondsmen?

State law establishes what bond agents are allowed to charge for bail bonds. Use our Bail Bond Calculator to find the rate of your bond. You can learn more about how bond fees are set by reading our help center article 'What are bail bond rates in New York State/City?'.

For applicants who are required to post collateral, this money is returned to you after the defendant makes all required appearances. You can learn more about why collateral is required by reading our help center article 'What collateral is required for a bail bond in New York City?'.

Research conducted by the New York City Criminal Justice Agency found that many bond agents routinely overcharged their customers. Betterbail guarantees that fees for bonds sold on our platform are set according to the legal schedule.

How soon can Betterbail have the defendant released?

Betterbail is the fastest way to arrange bail, period. As soon as you are approved, one of our agents is alerted and will start drawing up the bond immediately.

Our agent will express deliver the bond to the appropriate facility and notify you as soon as delivery is made. It can take some time for the city to process the defendant's release, but our agent will do everything possible to expedite that process.

Read more about the time it takes for a defendant to be released in our help center article 'How long will it take for an inmate to be released from Rikers or other NYC jail?'.

Is Betterbail a bail bonding company?

No. Betterbail is not a bail bonding company. Betterbail is a platform that connects people in need of a bail bond with a local bondsman, guaranteeing a fair price and fast service. Bail is posted by a licensed bond agent partner.


Questions About Bail

How does bail work in NYC?

In New York City, bail is set by a judge at arraignment. Nine different forms of bail are permitted under New York State law, and the judge will select two or more to be available to the defendant.

You should consult with a lawyer to understand what forms of bail are available in a given case. Betterbail is designed to make obtaining a commercial bail bond simple and fair. In most cases where bail is set, commercial bond is provided as an option. To learn about the differences between bail and bond, see 'Difference between bail and bond: The beginner's guide'.

Generally, securing bail by bond will require only about 10% of the bail amount. However, less creditworthy applicants may be required to post additional cash or property as collateral. For more detail, see our help center article 'How does a bail bond work in New York?'.

What if the defendant fails to appear in court?

In Failure to Appear (FTA) cases, you will be liable for the full cost of the bond, usually about 4x the size of your original payment. It is extremely important that you take all steps possible to ensure the defendant makes the necessary appearances.


Questions About Collateral Refunds

Will I receive a refund? How much will it be?

If you posted collateral, that money will be refunded in full at the conclusion of the case, conditional on both you and the defendant abiding by the terms of the bond agreement. If you or the defendant fail to abide by the full agreement, you will not receive a collateral refund and may be liable for the full cost of the bond.

Any premium paid for the bond is final and will not be refunded.

What if the defendant is found guilty?

If you purchased a bond through Betterbail, the verdict in the case will not have an effect on your refund if you are entitled to one.

How do I get my refund?

To receive your refund, the case must be over, and you must have the certificate of disposition with the seal of the court (originals only).

Email [email protected] to schedule a time to present the certificate to a Betterbail agent and collect your refund. Refunds can be collected as cash or as electronic deposit.


General Questions

Betterbail doesn't find a record of the defendant and I don't know the bail amount. What should I do?

If you do not know the bail amount you can search for the information using the city's inmate lookup tool. The cash and bond amount can be found under the inmate's 'Booking Information' in the 'Bail and/or Bond' field. Enter both numbers during the checkout process when prompted.

What is the NYSID and Book & Case Number?

The NYSID is unique identifier assigned to an individual by the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS). It is eight numbers followed by a single letter, for example '193044173B'.

The Book & Case Number is a unique identifier assigned by the New York City Department of Correction to all newly detained inmates and those newly sentenced to the Department. It is a ten digit number.