If you or someone you know has been arrested, you may have heard the terms “bail” and “bond” used interchangeably. While both involve securing release from jail before trial, they differ. In this post, we’ll define bail and bond and explain their differences.
What is Bail?
Bail is an amount of money paid to the court to secure the release of a defendant from jail before their trial. The purpose of bail is to ensure that the defendant shows up for their court appearances. If they fail to do so, they forfeit the bail money, and a warrant may be issued for their arrest.
Bail can be paid in cash or through a bail bond company. If the defendant can pay the total amount of bail in cash, they can do so, and the money will be returned to them at the end of the trial, regardless of the outcome. However, bail amounts can be very high, making it difficult or impossible for many defendants to pay.
What is a Bond?
A bond is a type of insurance policy purchased from a bail bond company. The bond company agrees to pay the full bail amount if the defendant fails to attend court appearances. In exchange for this service, the defendant or their family pays a non-refundable fee to the bond company, usually 10% of the total bail amount.
The advantage of using a bond is that it allows defendants who cannot afford to pay the full amount of bail to secure their release from jail. However, if the defendant fails to attend court, the bond company may hire a bounty hunter to find them and return them to jail. In addition, the non-refundable fee paid to the bond company is not returned, even if the defendant is found innocent.
Key Differences Between Bail and Bond
The main differences between bail and bond can be summarized as follows:
- Bail is money paid directly to the court, while a bond is a type of insurance policy purchased from a bail bond company.
- Bail is refundable if the defendant shows up for all their court appearances, while the fee paid to a bond company is non-refundable.
- Bail requires the full amount to be paid in cash, while a bond requires only a percentage of the total bail amount to be paid.
- Bail can only be paid by the defendant or their family, while anyone, including friends or strangers, can purchase a bond.
While bail and bond may seem interchangeable, they are two different things. Bail is an amount of money paid to the court to secure the release of a defendant before trial, while a bond is a type of insurance policy purchased from a bail bond company. Each has advantages and disadvantages; the choice between them depends on the defendant’s financial situation and family.