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Bail vs Bond (Meaning And Differences: All You Need To Know)

What is Bail vs Bond?

What is the difference between bail and bond?

What are the essential elements you should know!

Keep reading as we have gathered exactly the information that you need!

What is the bail and bond definition and how are they different!!

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Bail vs Bond Overview

Many use the terms bail and bond interchangeably although they are not legally the same thing although related to getting someone out of jail.

When a person is arrested and charged with a crime, it’s possible that the prosecutor may want the defendant to remain detained until the court makes a decision in the criminal case.

However, in certain situations, a person can be temporarily released by posting bail representing a sum of money put up as “collateral” to guarantee that the defendant will participate in the court proceedings and respect various conditions imposed by the court.

To better understand what is the difference between bail and bond, it’s worth going over the definition of each of the terms.

What Is Bail

Bail refers to a sum of money established by the court or a judge that a person must pay.

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, bail is defined as:

The temporary release of a prisoner in exchange for security given for the prisoner’s appearance at a later hearing
Author

In other words, bail means:

  • Security or a sum of money given 
  • By a prisoner 
  • For his or her temporary release from incarceration 

Bail is therefore a cash payment paid by the defendant in exchange for the right to be released as the criminal case progresses.

What Is Bond

Bond refers to a promise in the form of money paid by a bond company (also called a bail bondsman).

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, a bond is defined as:

“An obligation made binding by a forfeit of money” or “the amount of money guarantee”
Author

In essence, a bond refers to:

  • An amount of money 
  • Paid by a company 
  • To guarantee 
  • A person’s promise 

When a defendant required to pay bail is unable to pay the needed sum of money or the amount is large, one option is to work with a bond company to obtain a bond.

The bond refers to a bond company’s “pledge” that they will pay the defendant’s bail money if the defendant does not appear in court or respect his or her release conditions.

Generally, the defendant will pay a fee to the bond company for the pledge and in return the bond company will take on the defendant’s obligation.

Types of Bonds

There are different types of bonds that a person may post to be released from jail:

  • Release on Own Recognisance: A situation when a person is released from jail and agrees to respect the conditions of the court (no cash or financial payments are required here)
  • Cash bond: Cash bonds are generally called “bail” where the defendant is required to put some money in cash
  • Property bond: Property bond is when the defendant puts up the title of owned property 
  • Surety bond: Surety bond is when a third party pays on behalf of the defendant and assume the defendant’s obligation 

Bail Hearing

Following a person’s arrest, for the court to properly evaluate how much bail may be required to release a person or what types of conditions may be required to be imposed, a bail hearing will be held.

During the bail hearing, the prosecutor will establish why the court should deny bail and keep the person incarcerated or ask for bail and conditions to be imposed.

The court will consider the circumstances of the case, the nature of the crime, the defendant’s history, flight risk, risk of further harm to the public if the defendant is let free, and so on to determine the best course of action.

The outcome of a bail hearing can lead to the following results:

  • The court allows the defendant to go free by agreeing to the conditions imposed by the court
  • The court requires that the defendant promises to respect the court conditions otherwise he or she will be held liable for penalties (a personal bond)
  • The court can agree to release the defendant provided that bail is posted in the amount fixed by the court or the defendant gets a surety bond from a bail bond company (release on bail)
  • The court may even reject the defendant’s request to go free due to the particular risks identified by the court 

Bail Bond Company

When the court requires that a criminal defendant pay a sum of money to be temporarily released from jail, in some cases the defendant will not have enough money to pay for bail.

As a result, the defendant may work with a bond company that specializes in “funding” the defendant’s bail requirement.

The bail bond company makes money by charging fees on the amount of money it puts up for criminal defendants.

For example, if the bail company posts $5,000 for a person, it may charge $1,000 to $2,000 in fees representing between 10% to 20% of the posted bail.

A defendant may choose to pay a non-refundable fee of $1,000 to $2,000 to go free immediately than have to say in jail, not be able to work, and also have $5,000 tied up for the entire duration of the proceedings.

Although it’s quite expensive to work with a bond company or bail bondsman, it may nonetheless remain the better option if the defendant needs to continue working and supporting his or her family.

Difference Between Bail And Bond

Now, let’s look at what’s the difference between bail and bond in more detail.

Should you pay bail or bond?

How does bail versus bond work?

In essence, if you are required to pay “bail”, it means that a judge has established a sum of money that you are required to pay while awaiting trial in your criminal case.

On the other hand, if you are looking to get a “bond”, you are promising that you will participate in your criminal proceedings, pay a portion of the sums required by the court, and have a bond company pay the difference in full.

If you fail to respect your promise, then you lose the money but if you properly participate in all the court appearances, then the bond money will eventually be returned.

Establishing Bail

In the United States, when a person is arrested and ultimately charged with a crime, he or she can get out of jail by “posting bail”.

Posting bail means that the accused individual will have the chance to go free while awaiting trail and will pay a certain amount of money to the court (bail) to guarantee that he or she will respect certain conditions imposed by the court and participate in all the court hearings.

A judge may set bail based on the following parameters:

  • The amount should not be objectively unreasonable 
  • The amount should not be excessive
  • The severity of the offense
  • The risk that the defendant will commit more crimes if he or she is released 
  • The flight-risk (the risk that the defendant runs away)

The objective of setting bail is to ensure that the defendant will respect his or her conditions imposed by the court and it’s not necessarily a means to punish the person.

If the person respects the court conditions, eventually the bail money will be reimbursed.

However, if the person does not respect the court conditions, the bail money will be lost and forfeited.

Posting Bond

A bond is a sum of money that is paid on behalf of the accused who is required to pay bail.

For example, a person is accused of a crime and is offered the chance to temporarily get out of jail in exchange for putting up $5,000 in bail.

If the person has the means to pay $5,000, then the matter is settled.

However, if the person does not have $5,000, he or she can contact someone (generally a bond company) to post bail on its behalf.

In that case, the bond company will put the $5,000 on behalf of the accused or guarantee to put $5,000.

If the accused respects the court conditions, the bond company will get back the money put up as a bond.

On the other hand, if the defendant does not respect the court conditions, the bond company will forfeit the money it put up for the defendant.

Bail Versus Bond Example

Let’s look at an example of bail vs. bond to better illustrate the concept.

Bail refers to the amount of money that a person will have to pay the court to secure their release while waiting for a final outcome in the criminal proceedings.

A bond is when a third party (bail company) makes a pledge to pay bail on behalf of the defendant if the defendant fails to respect the conditions imposed by the court in letting the person go free.

Let’s assume that the court agrees to let a person accused of a crime go free by putting bail or bond for the sum of $10,000.

If the person has $10,000, the money will be deposited in court during the legal proceedings and returned back to the defendant at the end of the trial if all the conditions were respected.

However, if the defendant does not have $10,000 to put up in cash, he or she can go to a bondsman, generally pay a non-refundable fee of 10% ($1,000 in this example), and have the bondsman put up the money on its behalf.

When the bond is posted, the defendant will be able to go free awaiting trial.

Bond vs Bail Takeaways 

So there you have it folks!

What is the difference between posting bond and posting bail?

Is bail and bond the same thing?

In summary, bail is a cash payment paid by the defendant to be released while awaiting criminal trial and judgment (the money is used as “security” or “guarantee” to ensure the defendant’s compliance with the court’s pre-trial restrictions).

If the defendant respects the conditions imposed, the bail money will be reimbursed to the defendant at the end of the court proceedings.

A bond is a bondsman’s pledge that it will pay the defendant’s bail money if the defendant fails to respect the court’s release conditions.

In this case, a bond company (third party) is taking responsibility for the defendant’s debt obligation.

I hope I was able to answer your questions like what is bail and bond, what’s the difference between bond and bail, and what are the features of bond or bail.

Let’s look at a summary of our findings.

Difference Between Bond And Bail

  • The terms “bail” and “bond” are often confused as they both relate to the release of someone from jail but they do not mean the same thing
  • When a person is arrested, they may be given the right to go free awaiting trial provided they pay a certain sum of money established by the court
  • When bail is set, the defendant can post bail directly or have someone pay bail on his or her behalf like a family or friend 
  • The other option is for the defendant to obtain a bail bond representing a surety obtained from a bond company that agrees to pay the bail money required by the defendant 
  • Generally a bail bond is obtained when the defendant does not have the financial means to post the required sum of money imposed by the court to be released from jail 
Appeal bond 
Bail hearing 
Bail jumping 
Bail bondsman 
Bench warrant 
Bond amount
Bond company
Bond forfeiture 
Bond jail 
Cash bond 
Drug crimes
Felony offenses 
Personal bond
Posting bond 
Robbery
Sex crimes
Sexual assault 
Signature bond 
Surety bail bond 
Types of bail 
What is a jail bond 
What is bond money
Author
Actus reus 
Attorney fees vs attorney costs
Beyond reasonable doubt 
Burden of proof
Civil law vs criminal law
Condemnation 
Criminal intent 
Criminal offense 
Criminal procedure 
Criminal sentencing Disorderly conduct
DUI accusation
DUI vs DWI
First-degree murder vs second-degree murder 
Flight-risk 
Grand theft vs petty theft 
Gross misdemeanor 
Initial appearance 
Jail vs prison 
Lawyer vs solicitor
Mens rea 
Mistake of fact 
Plea bargaining 
Restraining order 
Traffic violation 
Victimless crimes
Author

Editorial Staffhttps://lawyer.zone
Hello Nation! I'm a lawyer and passionate about law. I've practiced law in a boutique law firm, worked in a multi-national organization and as in-house counsel. I've been around the block! On this blog, I provide you with golden nuggets of information about lawyers, attorneys, the law and legal theories. Enjoy!

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