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Bail vs Bond

Bail vs Bond: A Comprehensive Look at the Differences

When you or a family member has been arrested, understanding the legal process and your options is one of the most important things that you can do. A lot of people get confused when it comes to bail vs bond, including what each entails and whether they’re an option for everyone. Fortunately, a little education can go a long way in helping you better understand bail, bail bonds, and the process of getting out of jail while you’re awaiting a court hearing. 

What Is Bail?

Bail is the money that the arrestee must pay if they want to get out of jail prior to their court date. This amount can range from $500 to $5,000 or more, with some bail amounts being set close to a million dollars for serious crimes or high-risk individuals. Not everyone will have the necessary amount of cash available to pay their full bail amount. When they don’t, a bail bond agency can come in handy.

Before we get to that, let’s discuss how bail is set.

How is bail determined?

Typically, states and local courts will have a schedule for bail based on the level and/or type of offense. This amount could vary based on circumstances like the severity of the crime, the background of the defendant, any existing charges or warrants, etc. Sometimes, bail will be waived for minor crimes or first offenses if there is no flight risk or other concern. The nuances of how courts set bail amounts can be confusing, so it’s best to know as much as you can about the laws and also to have a lawyer help you at your bail hearing.

Bail funds will be returned to the arrestee at the end of the legal process, provided that all the legal requirements have been met by the arrestee and there are no outstanding fees, costs, or fines involved. 

Those who have pending warrants or who are charged with violent crimes may not qualify for bail and will need to stay in jail until their trial.

What Is a Bond?

If you qualify for bail but you can’t access enough money to pay your total bail amount, a bond can be posted on your behalf. This is done by a bail bond company and will ensure that you are released from jail quickly. Instead of a cash payment, a bail bond is a promise by the agency to the court that you will appear on your trial date. They will typically provide this service for a non-refundable fee that is equal to 10% of the total bail amount.

What happens if the bond is revoked?

If someone misses their court date – known as “skipping bail” – the court will typically revoke their bond immediately. This will cause law enforcement to search for the person. The bail agency will also be looking for the person because the bail agency is responsible for paying the total bail amount to the court if the person cannot be found.

Provided that you attend your court hearings and follow all the terms of the bail bond agreement, you will not have to worry about this. You will go to court, the case will be settled, and the bond will be exonerated.

Release Options

There are three main release options, secured (you pay or promise something in order to get released) and unsecured:

  • Release on your own recognizance (unsecured)
  • Cash bail payment (secured)
  • Surety bond from a bail bond agency (secured)

Whatever charges you’re dealing with, you don’t have to do it alone. Seek the assistance of an experienced, reputable bail bond agency that can help you get released from jail and back to your life until your hearing.

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