Types Of Bail

There are many different types of bail, some are used more than others, So we will take a look at the most commonly used forms:


Also called a bail bond, a surety bond can be used for any amount of bail, but it is especially useful when the inmate/accused can’t afford to pay his or her bail. This type of bail often involves a friend or relative of the inmate/accused contacting a bail agent, also known as a bail bondsman. A bail agent is backed by a special type of insurance company called a surety company and pledges to pay the full value of the bond if the inmate/accused fails to appear in court. In return, the bail agent charges his client a statewide 10 percent premium and collects some sort of collateral (EX: title to a house, car, or boat). Collateral is returned upon completion of court.


Cash bail means that the inmate/accused or family pays the full amount of bail in cash. Some counties accept checks under $5,000, otherwise a cashiers check is needed. Cash Bail is held with the court until all court proceedings are finished. Cash Bail can be risky if you happen to miss a court hearing. However, all money is returned upon exoneration of bail.


A judge may also choose to release a suspect on his own recognizance, meaning that he is responsible for showing up for court dates and does not have to pay bail. Personal recognizance is usually only allowed when the charge involves a relatively minor, or a nonviolent crime. There are many factors that are taken into account when determining who qualifies for being released on their own recognizance. Most violent crimes do not qualify for being released on their own recognizance, however, there are exceptions and these are determined be the presiding judge.


Sometimes a defendant can provide some property to act as a bond. In these cases, the court gets a lien (essentially a legal claim) on the property in the amount of the bail. If the defendant doesn’t show up for his court appearances, the court can foreclose on the property to recover the forfeited bail. Not all Courts allow this, and this form of payment is not always accepted, if you need information on a property bond please contact a bail bondsman.