Bail Bond 101: Definition, How It Works, Pros And Cons, And How-Tos - Anylaw (2024)

A bail bond is a legal agreement between the court, an accused person, and a bail bondsman. It allows for the release of an accused individual before trial in exchange for money or property pledged to the court by the bond agent.

This article provides an overview of bail bonds, what they are, how they work, their advantages and disadvantages, and how to obtain them.

What Is A Bail Bond?

A bail bond serves as security to ensure the defendant appears in court on their appointed date. If the defendant fails to appear in court, they forfeit the amount paid for the bond and can be arrested. Hence, finding a skilled bail bonds agency in Long Beach or any location is best to assist you legally during these trying times.

The primary purpose of a bail bond is to guarantee that any fines imposed upon conviction are met and fulfilled by the person charged with a crime. Courts require defendants to post cash or property collateral, known as bail, to secure these obligations.

It also incentivizes individuals accused of crimes to return from trial proceedings without fleeing justice. When posted, it releases the defendant from pre-trial detention until their case has been heard in its entirety by a judge or jury.

Types Of Bail Bonds

Bail bonds come in various forms and may be tailored to fit the accused’s financial situation. Here’s a list of the different types of bail bonds:

  1. Cash Bond

A cash bond is a payment made to the court by an arrested individual or someone acting on their behalf. It is one of several types of bail bonds available and is typically considered the most secure form of release from jail.

The amount of money required for a cash bond depends on the severity of the crime and any other factors that may be relevant, such as prior arrests or convictions.

  1. Surety Bond

A surety bond is a three-party agreement between the principal, obligee, and surety. The principal agrees to fulfill an obligation specified by the obligee in exchange for the surety’s guarantee that this will be done. This type of bond protects the obligee if the principal fails to meet their obligations.

Furthermore, it also ensures compliance with laws and regulations imposed by government entities, such as licensing requirements and legal contracts. In return, the surety receives compensation from both parties to cover any potential losses it may incur should there be issues with payment or performance of duties.

  1. Property Bond

Property bonds are bail bonds most often used in criminal cases. A property bond occurs when someone pledges real estate as collateral to secure the release of an accused person from jail before their trial date. The court holds title to the sold property until all bond conditions have been satisfied.

When considering whether you should pursue a property bond, be sure you understand what types of collateral will satisfy your situation so that you retain valuable assets in case you cannot comply with all requirements set by your judge or magistrate.

  1. Immigration Bail Bond

An immigration bail bond is not frequently employed in the United States. This particular bond is utilized for individuals who have been accused of breaching immigration regulations and have been taken into custody by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

The purpose of this surety is to guarantee that these individuals attend their scheduled court hearings or other legal proceedings. In cases where the cost of the security does not exceed USD$10,000, ICE covers the expense; otherwise, the individual in question is responsible for payment.

  1. Federal Bail Bond

Federal bail bonds are a particular type set in place by the federal government and must be posted for individuals arrested on federal charges. This form of bond requires an individual to appear before a judge and answer any criminal allegations made against them.

The amount of money necessary for such a bond depends on the crime’s severity and other factors. For example, if the accused has a prior record or fails to attend court, they may be asked to pay more than usual.

  1. Citation Release

Citation release, also known as forfeiture release or summons release, follows the same principle of the federal bail bond but applies only to minor offenses that don’t require complete bail bonds. This system enables those cited for misdemeanors or infractions to receive an official summons from the police officer instead of being physically detained at a jail facility.

Unlike traditional bail bond services, citation release doesn’t involve any payment by either party involved in the transaction; it merely requires that one sign up for a pre-trial release program and abide by its terms, which may include wearing an ankle monitor and attending mandated meetings with a probation officer.

  1. Personal Recognizance Release

Personal recognizance release (PRR) is a form of bail in which the defendant promises to appear at all court hearings and abide by any other conditions set forth by the court. This type of release typically does not require money or collateral and is usually available for misdemeanor offenses.

The decision to grant PRR rests with the judge, who evaluates the case and determines if this form of release is appropriate based on factors such as criminal history, ties to the community, employment status, severity of the crime charged, etc.

How Do Bail Bonds Work?

Bail bonds allow individuals to be released from jail before their trial. A person must agree with a bail bond company or licensed professional bail agent to obtain the release. The agreement requires them to pay the total amount of the bond in exchange for the defendant’s freedom until they appear at court hearings.

This payment is known as a premium and is typically 10 to 15% of the total bail amount set by the court. Suppose all obligations under the contract are met, including appearing at all court dates. In that case, no further payments are necessary, and the entire premium will be refunded when the case has been resolved.

Pros Of Bail Bonds

A bail bond is a legally binding agreement between the court, defendant, and surety that could offer flexibility for individuals who cannot afford to pay their full bail amount. Here are numerous advantages associated when opting for bail bonds:

  • Financial Relief

Bail bonds can provide significant financial relief, as they only require a fraction of the total bail amount to be paid upfront, which can be paid in cash or cryptocurrencies. This percentage, typically around 10%, allows defendants to secure their release without needing to pay the full bail amount, which can often be cost-prohibitive.

  • Faster Release

Bail bond agents are usually available around the clock and have experience working with local jails and courts. This expertise enables them to expedite the release process, allowing defendants to return home and resume their daily lives more quickly.

  • Legal Support

Many bail bond agents have strong connections within the legal community and can provide valuable resources, such as recommendations for experienced attorneys or guidance on navigating the criminal justice system.

  • Collateral Options

If a defendant or their family is unable to pay the required percentage of the bail amount, bail bond agents may accept collateral instead. This can include assets such as property, vehicles, or jewelry, providing more flexibility for those who may not have sufficient cash on hand.

  • Ensured Court Appearance

Bail bond agents have a vested interest in ensuring defendants appear in court, as they are responsible for the full bail amount if the defendant fails to show up. This often results in agents providing reminders and assistance to help defendants meet their court obligations.

  • Confidentiality

Bail bond agents are typically discreet and maintain a high level of confidentiality throughout the process, ensuring that the defendant’s privacy is protected.

Cons Of Bail Bonds

As with any other legal agreements, bail bond also has its fair share of disadvantages, including the following:

  • Non-refundable Fees

When a defendant or their family pays the bail bond agent’s fee (usually around 10% of the bail amount), this money is non-refundable, regardless of the case outcome. This means that the bail bond fee will not be returned even if the charges are dropped or the defendant is found not guilty.

  • Potential For Additional Fees

In some cases, bail bond agents may charge additional fees for their services, such as administrative or processing fees. These fees can add to the overall cost of obtaining a bail bond and may not be refundable.

  • Risk Of Losing Collateral

If a defendant fails to appear in court or meet the terms of their bail agreement, the bail bond agent may seize the collateral provided by the defendant or their family. This can result in the loss of valuable assets, such as property, vehicles, or jewelry.

  • Perceived Stigma

Some people may perceive a negative stigma associated with using bail bonds, viewing it as an indication of guilt or criminality. This perception can potentially impact the defendant’s reputation and relationships.

Bail Bond 101: Definition, How It Works, Pros And Cons, And How-Tos - Anylaw (2024)


What are the pros and cons of the bail system? ›

Supporters of cash bail bonds say they provide assurance that defendants will appear in court. Opponents, however, say that too often, defendants simply can't afford the bail, and it does little more than criminalize poverty.

What are the disadvantages of a bail bond? ›

Bail Bond Cons

Remember that bail bond fees are never refundable. You cannot recoup those costs once you hand over the 10% of the bail amount to the agent. Think of these bonds as a fee for your freedom. You will work through a third party when using a bail bond agency.

How do bail in bonds work? ›

A bail bond is an agreement by a criminal defendant to appear for trial or pay a sum of money set by the court. The bail bond is co-signed by a bail bondsman, who charges the defendant a fee in return for guaranteeing the payment. The bail bond is a type of surety bond.

How does the US bail system work? ›

The bail bond company will charge the defendant a fee (usually 10-15% of the total bail amount) and will post bail on the defendant's behalf. If the defendant fails to appear in court, the person who took out the bail bond can lose any collateral or have additional penalties depending on their contract.

What is the point of bail? ›

The primary purpose of bail is to ensure that a defendant appears in court and answers for the alleged crime. To understand how this works, let us first discuss the initial stages of the criminal justice process. When someone is arrested for a misdemeanor or felony, they may be held in jail while their case is pending.

What are the advantages of bailing? ›

The biggest benefit of using bail bonds is the payment options available to you. The main reason that a person would use a bail bond is if they cannot afford the bail amount at the current moment. Rather than letting a loved one sit in jail, you can use a bail bond service to get the money you need upfront.

What are 3 disadvantages of bonds? ›

Some of the disadvantages of bonds include interest rate fluctuations, market volatility, lower returns, and change in the issuer's financial stability. The price of bonds is inversely proportional to the interest rate. If bond prices increase, interest rates decrease and vice-versa.

What is the disadvantage of surety bond? ›

One of the disadvantages of a surety bond is that the fee paid to the bondsman is gone. Even if the defendant appears at every court date and then is found not guilty, the 10 percent paid to the bondsman is not money the defendant will get back.

Is bail excessive? ›

2.2 Modern Doctrine on Bail. Eighth Amendment: Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.

How much is a $500 bond? ›

That being said, what if bail is set at $500? If bail is set at $500, you will likely pay around $50 to a bail bondsman — which is 10% of the total bail amount.

Does bond have to be paid in full? ›

A secured bond is the only type of bond that will require full payment. With a secured bond, the defendant will give a signed document of a security interest to an asset that is worth the total amount of the bail.

What happens if cosigner does not pay bond? ›

If the bond is forfeited, the cosigner may be sued by the county for the amount owed on the bond as well as additional penalties. Provide a financial statement to support that he or she has money readily available to repay the loan.

Do you get bail money back in us? ›

If the defendant was not convicted, and the case was dismissed or acquitted, then the full amount of the Cash Bail deposit is refunded to the Surety. Courts may impose additional fees. For more information on these fees, you will have to contact the appropriate court to discuss the fee.

What happens if you can't pay bail in America? ›

If you do not have the funds necessary to cover the entire cost of bail, you will remain in jail until the judge decides you can leave. Alternatively, there is also the potential that you will simply remain in jail until the day of your court hearing.

Where does bail money go in us? ›

The Department of Finance holds the money to help guarantee that the defendant will return to court for their trial. The Cash Bail is held in a bank account until the court closes the case and issues a court order to refund the Cash Bail to the person who paid it.

Which system of bail is most common? ›

A surety bond is your most standard form of bail bond.

A surety bond is almost always given through a bail bonds company (like at The Bail Bonds Doctor). It will cost the defendant 10% of the total bail amount*.

What is bail in the 8th Amendment? ›

No Excessive Bail: The first portion of the Eighth Amendment concerns bail— the money paid by a defendant in a criminal case in exchange for his or her release from jail before trial. Bail is returned to the defendant when he or she appears at trial but is forfeited to the government if he or she does not appear.

Is bailing a right? ›

New Delhi: A Supreme Court bench of Justices Krishna Murari and C.T. Ravikumar, on Wednesday, April 26, held that the relief of statutory bail under Section 167(2) of the Criminal Procedure Code, is a fundamental right.

What are the benefits of bailing out banks? ›

Protect Your Assets

With bailouts, governments inject money back into troubled banks and corporations to help them avoid bankruptcy. In a bail-in, banks use the money from depositors and unsecured creditors to help them avoid failure.

What is the meaning of bailing process? ›

Bail is a set of pre-trial restrictions that are imposed on a suspect to ensure that they will not hamper the judicial process. Bail is the conditional release of a defendant with the promise to appear in court when required.

What are two risks of bonds? ›

Risk Considerations: The primary risks associated with corporate bonds are credit risk, interest rate risk, and market risk. In addition, some corporate bonds can be called for redemption by the issuer and have their principal repaid prior to the maturity date.

What are 2 advantages and disadvantages of bonds? ›

Bonds have some advantages over stocks, including relatively low volatility, high liquidity, legal protection, and various term structures. However, bonds are subject to interest rate risk, prepayment risk, credit risk, reinvestment risk, and liquidity risk.

What are the issues with bonds? ›

They can also give an overview of the risks that come with investing in bonds. These risks include rising interest rates, call risk, and the possibility of corporate bankruptcy. Bankruptcy can cost investors some or all of the amount invested.

What is the difference between a bond and a surety? ›

The main difference between a cash bond and a surety bond is the number of parties involved. Cash bonds only involve two parties, you and the owner. In a surety bond, there is a third party, the surety company. The term surety refers to any party that guarantees the payment of a debt or performance of a contract.

Do surety bonds hurt your credit? ›

A common question that many applicants ask is does the credit check affect my score? The answer is no—surety companies perform what is called a soft credit check, which does not affect customers' credit scores. Jet Insurance Company, along with most of the surety industry, runs credit checks through Experian.

What is not an advantage of a bond? ›

A key disadvantage of bonds is that they are debt. The corporation must make its bond interest payments. If a corporation cannot make its interest payments, the bondholders can force it into bankruptcy. In bankruptcy, the bondholders have a liquidation preference over investors with ownership—that is, the shareholders.

What crime has the highest bail? ›

Robert Dust – $3 billion

Currently holds the record for the highest amount of bail set in the history of America. He was accused of murdering his first wife, Kathleen McCormack, his old-time friend Susan Berman and his neighbor Morris Black.

Is denying bail unconstitutional? ›

The eighth amendment in the American Bill of Rights was adopted from the English Bill of Rights of 1689 and provides that excessive bail or fines shall not be imposed. Interpretations of the U.S. Constitution and State constitutions have consistently upheld the right to deny bail in capital cases.

What is the 14th amendment? ›

Passed by the Senate on June 8, 1866, and ratified two years later, on July 9, 1868, the Fourteenth Amendment granted citizenship to all persons "born or naturalized in the United States," including formerly enslaved people, and provided all citizens with “equal protection under the laws,” extending the provisions of ...

How much do you actually pay for a bond? ›

Regardless of how much the bail amount is, bail bonds are considerably cheaper than attempting to pay the full bail amount in one go. In most cases, you'll be expected to pay around 10% of the bail amount. So if your bail is $10,000, you'll only be paying $1,000 upfront to secure the funds needed.

How much would a $5000 bond cost? ›

Therefore, a bond worth $5,000 might cost between $250 and $750. Whilst the cost of bonds is often higher for applicants with bad credit, Lance Surety Bonds specializes in helping customers access the best-value bonds possible.

How much should you pay for a $1000 bond? ›

A $1,000 bail bond paid at a bail bonds company will cost $100. This is often the base fee for posting bail on the lowest amount. Bonds that will not net the bail bonds company at least $100 in interest will often earn a minimum payment of $100 or 10% of the total bond.

How long does money have to stay in a bond? ›

You can cash in (redeem) your I bond after 12 months. However, if you cash in the bond in less than 5 years, you lose the last 3 months of interest. For example, if you cash in the bond after 18 months, you get the first 15 months of interest.

Is a bond a one time payment? ›

This means you will only need to pay it one time (not every month). Bonds are quoted in terms. Your term is basically how long the surety bond is in effect for (Learn more here).

Do you have to pay upfront at bond? ›

Fees for programs at Bond don't need to be paid upfront, or in full, before you begin your degree. You will pay your fees on a semester-by-semester basis, only paying for the individual subjects you have enrolled in that semester.

What happens if you can't pay back a bond? ›

Failing to pay your bond fee is not a violation of the law, but it can still land you in jail. If you don't pay the agreed-upon fee, the bond agent has every right to abandon responsibility for you. That means they don't have to pay your bail. If bail isn't paid, you go to jail.

What happens to the debt if a cosigner dies? ›

Cosigner death policy

The loan balance does not change but is not subject to an automatic default clause. The loan will not be in default. The cosigner will be automatically released from the loan upon their death, and the loan won't end up in default. The student becomes responsible for the debt if the cosigner dies.

What happens if bonds are not paid back? ›

A secured bond pledges specific assets to bondholders if the company cannot repay the obligation. This asset is also called collateral on the loan. So if the bond issuer defaults, the asset is then transferred to the investor.

Can you leave the US while on bail? ›

Generally speaking, you will not be allowed to travel internationally unless you are considered a low-risk defendant. Even then, you will need to let the bail bonds company know about your intentions and seek written clearance.

What states have cashless bail? ›

In February 2021, Illinois became the first state to fully abolish cash bail (set to go into effect in January 2023). In March 2021, the California Supreme Court ruled that people cannot be detained simply because they cannot afford to pay cash bail.

How much does bail cost in USA? ›

Bailing someone out of jail can be expensive, but is typically lower for minor charges and higher for severe crimes. In California, a bail bond is 10% of the total bail amount. If the bail amount is $40,000, the cost would be $4,000 to bail someone out of jail.

How many people can't afford bail in the US? ›

More than 60% of defendants are detained pre-trial because they can't afford to post bail.

How do you get around cash only bonds? ›

If the judge set a cash only bail bond, unfortunately, the only option is to come up with the full cash amount.

Is California a no bail state? ›

Before then, a number of states such as Kentucky, New Mexico, and New Jersey had reformed their cash bail system, however, California was the first to completely eliminate its cash bail system. Now, other states such as Illinois, Nebraska, Indiana, and New York have enacted bills to change their cash bail system.

What is a bond in law terms? ›

In the field of criminal law, on the other hand, a bond refers to a sum of money offered up by a party to secure the performance of some legal duty. The most common kind of bond in criminal law is the bail bond.

What does it mean to bail on someone? ›

Martin's Press, 2006) Bail on (Someone): The expression to bail on (someone or something) means to break off a relationship or abandon a person or thing.

How does posting bail work in America? ›

A judge will set a dollar value for bail. What essentially happens is that you pay a deposit to the court in that amount, to secure your freedom during the trial. The deposit is returned if you make all scheduled appearances; once the case is over, whatever the outcome, bail can be returned.

What are some issues with the bail system in the United States? ›

The money bail system in the United States criminalizes poverty, destroys lives, and wastes public resources while failing to make us safer. For this reason, several states and cities around the country are reducing or ending their use of money bail.

What were the positive aspects of the bail reform? ›

Individuals affected by bail reform were spared an average of 79 days in jail while they tried to come up with the money demanded by the court. Overall, bail reform saved an estimated 1.9 million nights that would otherwise have been spent in jail in its first two years.

What are the benefits of the new bail reform? ›

A 6% decrease in new prosecutions over three years following arrest, indicating a reduction in a person's likelihood of future contact with the criminal justice system. A 13% increase in misdemeanor releases within 24 hours following arrest.

Why is bail unconstitutional? ›

In Robinson v. California, the Supreme Court held that it is unconstitutional under the Eighth Amendment to punish an individual for a status or condition. Poverty is a status. The cash bail system is unconstitutional under Robinson and the Eighth Amendment because it punishes the status of poverty.

What are the flaws of the bail system? ›

Pretrial incarceration disconnects people from opportunities to earn an income or wages, and paying cash bail drains economic resources that could otherwise be spent on rent: A criminal conviction, which typically results from a guilty plea, can result in losing access or facing barriers to housing.

What is the average bail amount in the US? ›

Likewise, average bail amounts have increased from $25,400 to $55,500, a 118% change increase for the same population. the average bail amounts doubled. people could be released from pretrial detention.

What did the bail reform Act of 1984 do? ›

The Bail Reform Act of 1984 authorizes preventive detention by permitting the pretrial incarceration of a defendant who will endanger the community's safety. For pretrial detainees, preventive detention works unnecessary hardship and skews the adversarial basis of the criminal process.

What are the competing goals of bail? ›

The history of bail and the law intertwined with that history tell us that the three goals underlying the bail process are to maximize release while simultaneously maximizing court appearance and public safety.

What states have bail reform? ›

2022 efforts in 3 states may impact the courts. On January 1, a new Illinois law that eliminated cash bail was to have gone into effect. That law was just one of three recent efforts in California, Illinois, and New York to change the way courts oversee bail.

What is the purpose of bail quizlet? ›

The purpose of bail is to assure the court that the defendant will return for trial. If the defendant is present for trial, the money or property is returned.

Does Pennsylvania have cash bail? ›

The new year is here and one of the biggest criminal defense issues in Pennsylvania in 2023 will be a proposed reform of its current cash bail system. Currently, the Commonwealth maintains a traditional cash bail system which assigns a monetary amount for an accused to obtain release prior to trial.

What does the US Constitution say about bail? ›

Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.

How does bail violate the 14th Amendment? ›

Under the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution, cash bail systems are unconstitutional because they impermissibly discriminate against indigent persons and fail under heightened scrutiny.

Is there no absolute right to bail? ›

Although the Eighth Amendment protects against excessive bail, there is not an absolute right to bail, as noted in The Bail Reform Act, 18 USC Chapter 207. Section 3142 of the Act denies bail to certain defendants pending trial, specifically denying bail to defendants likely to flee or pose a danger to society.


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