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What is Bail Bond?

nkgThere are many wordy legal definitions out there; however, Wikipedia gives a good summary. An excerpt from the article is below.

Traditionally, bail is some form of property deposited or pledged to a court in order to persuade it to release a suspect from jail, on the understanding that the suspect will return for trial or forfeit the bail (and be guilty of the crime of failure to appear).

In the United States there are several forms of bail used, these vary from jurisdiction, but the common forms of bail include:

  1. Recognizance – a promise made by the accused to the court that he/she will attend all required judicial proceedings and will not engage in illegal activity or other prohibited conduct as set by the court. Typically a monetary amount is set by the court, but is not paid by the defendant unless the court orders it forfeited; this is denominated an unsecured appearance bond or release on one’s own recognizance.
  2. Surety – when a third party agrees to be responsible for the debt or obligation of the defendant. In many jurisdictions this service is provided commercially by a bail bondsman, where the agent will receive 10% of the bail amount up front and will keep that amount regardless of whether the defendant appears in court. The court in many jurisdictions, especially jurisdictions that prohibit bail bondsmen, may demand a certain amount of the total bail (typically 10%) be given to the court, which, unlike with bail bondsmen, is returned if the defendant does not violate the conditions of bail. This also known as surety on the bond.
  3. Cash – typically “cash-only,” where the only form of bail that the Court will accept is cash.
  4. Combinations – courts often allow defendants to post cash bail or bond, and then impose further conditions, as mentioned below, in order to protect the community or ensure attendance.


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