Bail and Bond at Cook County Jail 

UPDATE: A kind reader has informed me that the bond slip is now changed so that you can write in the person who will receive 90% of the bond money, instead of the bond money being sent to the defendant’s last known address, if the defendant shows up to court through the end of the trial if guilty or innocent and if guilty also must wait until after sentencing. 10 % of the bond money always is kept by the court clerk as a “fee”, although this is unconstitutional. There is also a bond clerk at room 1005 at the Daley Center where you can get the bond refund by check immediately after the trial and sentencing are finished. [See:

How do I pay the bond for a family member or friend?
When do I get the bond money back?
What do I have to do to get the bond money back?
Can I pick up the bond money when the case is over?

Read the following and also read the official Cook County Jail web site about bonding:

You can pay the bond with cash, bank or cashier’s check (no personal checks) or a credit card at the courthouse clerk’s office if the detainee has not been moved to the jail. At the jail you enter at the big white gate S of 26th and California and will be directed to Division 5. You may pay with cash or credit card or with certified check or bank check, NO personal checks, NO money orders. The credit card must be used at the jail – you cannot call in and pay. This is so they can arrest you if you use a phony card. You will need identification and will be directed to a phone on the premises to call in to pay with the credit card. If you pay by cashier’s check, you  must do so during normal bank hours as they must call the bank and verify the check.

They are open to accept bonds from 9:00 am to 8:30 pm every day including weekends and holidays. Remember that you have to come during normal bank hours if you pay by cashier’s check.

If the person is coming from court and has not yet been processed into the jail it will take extra time to process them in (several hrs) and then to process them out again after you pay the bond – which you cannot pay until they are  processed into the jail.

There are NO bail bondsmen allowed in Illinois. This is a law. Bonds in Illinois are three types:

Most are “D-bonds” which means you must pay 10% of the bail amount set by the judge to get out of jail and be “out on bond”. So if the bail is $10,000, you must pay $1,000 and when the case is over the defendant who was found not guilty, who had their case dismissed (SOL, dismissed, vacated) or if convicted, convict, will get a check mailed to their last known address. The check is NOT made out to the person that paid it. The check will be for 90 % of the bond (in this case $900) and the clerk will keep 10% (in this case $100).

“I-Bonds” are “Personal recognizance bonds” which mean you pay nothing, but the Sheriff can collect the full bail if you don’t come to court after they arrest you for not showing up and the judge orders that you forfeit the bail.

A “C-Bond” means you must pay the full amount of bail to get out of jail pre-trial.

Yes this is unfair for the clerk to keep part of the bond and should be considered fraud by the clerk. However this is law, but I believe if it was challenged in an individual suit or class action suit, the person would win because this denies equal protection under the law, which is a constitutional right. This is because the clerk does the exact same task if she receives a check for a bond for $100 (for a $1,000 bail) as if she received a bond check for $1 million (for a $10 million bail). The fee should be small and the same for all bond amounts.

To charge a different amount or fee to process and hold the bond money when the clerk does the same amount of work is fraud and unfair. It doesn’t take more work to process a bigger check! This means if you are found innocent or your case is dismissed or dropped, and you did not stay in jail but managed to pay the bail, you still pay 10% of the bond amount. For a murder suspect found not guilty who had a $1 million bail and paid a $100,000 bond to get out of jail, the Court Clerk keeps $10,000. That’s not fair! For a person who paid $100 to get out of jail on a $1,000 bail, the Court Clerk keeps only $10. I don’t even think this is fair to make an innocent person pay a fee for being wrongfully arrested.

You only have to come to court until the end of the case to get the bond money returned to you. The bond is automatically returned by check to the last known address of the detainee or convict. NO CASH.