Two Confusing Terms: Bail And Bail Bonds

Posted on: 22 February 2023

Having to cope with bail matters can be extremely confusing. When it's time to get out of jail, time is of the essence. Read on for a thorough explanation of the differences between bail and bail bonds.

Bail: It's How to Get Out of Jail

Bail is a general term that has been around for a long time and has several meanings. However, when you are stuck behind bars, bail means you can be released. Bail costs can vary depending on the nature of the alleged crime and other factors.

Here is what you need to know about bail:

  • Bail comes under the court system. It's paid to the jail or court personnel.
  • Bail can be very expensive, but when the case is over, the bail money is refunded to the defendant.
  • Bail comes with conditions and failing to obey them could result in a bail revocation and arrest. 

Bail Bonds: The Less-Expensive Alternative

Bail bonding agencies are not directly connected to the court. They often have offices near courthouses or jails, however. Here is what you need to know about bail bonds:

  • The main thing that sets bail bonds apart from bail is the cost. Bail bonds are a percentage of the bail as charged by the court. The percentage varies but is limited by state law. If bail is set at $5,000 and the bail bonding agency charges a 10% premium, then the bail bond (and freedom) can be bought for only $500.
  • Bail bonds, however, are not refundable when the case is over. If property is also pledged when the bail bond is purchased, the property is returned to the owner when the case is over. 
  • Though bail bonding gained a certain reputation because of a reality show, bounty hunters are not a thing in most states. However, bail agents can take action against those who avoid court by revoking their bail. This causes a warrant to be issued for a defendant's arrest. 
  • Although bail bonds are not a part of the court system, the bail agents are often former jail, law enforcement, or court employees. They know how things work and can provide not only a release from jail but advice on how to keep out of trouble while out on bail. 
  • If you have the funds with you, you can often arrange bail over the phone. You must visit the bail office after you are released and sign the paperwork. You can also ask a friend or family member to secure your release with a bail bond. 

Speak to a 24-hour bail bonds company to find out more.