A Guide to the Differences Between Bonds and Bail In California

Bail vs Bonds: What You Need to Know

Everyone has to deal with crime. It affects people with less money as well as those who live in penthouses. But they are all in the same boat in some way. When you get arrested, you go to jail. Most people would rather not go to jail—not even for a day, so they ask for a hearing about bail or a bail bond.

Mostly, people don’t know the difference between bond and bail. Both will get the person arrested and in jail freedom for a period before their trial. But there is a big difference between the two. Bail is the amount of money a person must pay to the court to get out of jail before their trial.

Different crimes have different bail amounts. It could be $1,000 or more than $100,000. Usually, a bondsman helps the person who has been arrested pay the full amount to the court and get their freedom. If the person shows up to the hearing date, they get their money back.

However —in most cases—the person who has been arrested doesn’t have enough money to pay their bail. In this case, they call a company that makes bonds, and then about 10% of the bail is paid to the bond company by the client. Keep reading and get to know more details on bail and bond, how they work, how to get them, and more.

Types of Bond

To begin, here are the types of bond:

Cash Bond

Bail can also be a cash bond or a payment made in cash. Upon signing a bail, the defendant is freed from custody and is subject for both criminal and civil penalties if they fail to appear in court.

Property Bond

You can use the title to your property as a type of insurance to assure that you return to court when you should. Your property is forfeited if you do not return to court or if you do not agree to the formal agreement that you signed with the courts.

Surety Bond (Most Common)

The single term “bond” is used to describe this type of relationship. Your commitment and debt are transferred to another party, who agrees to take responsibility for them.

Breakdown of Bails

Let’s break down bail into three points:

Bails are Cash Only

This predetermined charge has to be paid to the courts as a sort of insurance, and it has to be paid in cash. Assuming the accused returns for all of their court dates and do what they are expected to under the written agreement and are released from any charges at the end, that cash payment gets returned when everything is through.

Bail Set With Terms of Release

If this is the case, the defendant may be released on bail if he or she pays it directly to the court or obtains a surety bond from a bail bond business in the amount stipulated.

Release on Own Recognizance

If the court agrees to let you go on the condition that you are responsible for your own return, then you will be said to have been released on your own recognizance and will not have to pay any bail.

Denial of Bails

When a defendant is regarded as a flight risk or a danger to the public, bail is denied.

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Differences Between Bail and Bond

We already gave a brief description of the differences between bail and bond. Now let’s dig a little deeper into the subject:

Definition of Bail and Bond

While the terms “bail” and “bond” are commonly used interchangeably when discussing jail release, they are not the same thing. Bail is the amount of money a defendant must pay in order to be released from prison. To ensure a defendant’s release, a bond is placed on their behalf, usually through a bail bond business.

Bail is not meant to be a punishment in and of itself. It’s more of a means of getting a defendant to agree to certain conditions and return to court. In that sense, a bail is a form of security left with the court to assure that the defendant would return for the remaining sections of the criminal case after being released from jail. If the criminal fails to attend or breaches the terms of their release, the money given to them may be forfeited. The bail bond company would forfeit the money if the defendant posted a bond.

Who Pays For Each

Bail is nothing more than a cash payment made by the defendant or someone on their behalf to the court. It’s the money that’s put up as collateral to guarantee that the defendant will show up for his or her trial. A defendant can either put up cash, which is impractical when the sum is considerable, or secure a bond from a bondsman. A bond is the bondsman’s promise to pay the bail if the offender fails to appear in court. Traditionally, the defendant pays the bondsman 10% of the bond’s value and posts collateral— such as real estate—as security.

Modes of Payment

Bonds are normally posted by an approved bonding agent for a specified charge (often approximately 10% of the bond amount) plus other guarantees or collateral, whereas bail is only taken in cash.

Is It Refundable?

Once all court requirements have been met, and the defendant has been found guilty or not guilty, the bail money will be restored to the defendant, but if the defendant fails to appear on time, the bail money may be forfeited or applied toward fines and costs that the court may impose. The bonding agency, on the other hand, does not repay any money paid to them.

What Does “Secured” Mean?

In general, a bond is money paid to the court by a bonding business. In most cases, the bond is “secured” with the bondsman, which means you negotiate a bargain. This procedure entails giving the bonding firm something of value in exchange for the defendant’s release. It is possible to use a house or a car.

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The Role of Bail Bond Companies

Bail bond agencies are extremely vital in the legal system. The arrested person’s bail is established by the courts, and many of those who have been arrested are unable to pay bail. Bail bond companies make contact with a bail bond provider and ask them to post bail on their behalf; then, they pay a percentage of the bail to the bail bond firm. Typically, the percentage is around 10 percent of the court’s bond amount.

So, Is Bail or Bond Better?

It all depends on your financial situation. You won’t lose any money if you can put the money up with the court and know you’ll show up. This indicates that bail is a viable option for you.

If you or your family is unable to pay bail, you may be forced to use a bond. If you use bail or a bond to avoid court, not only bounty hunters but also law enforcement will be looking for you. Your lawyer can advise you on how to use bail or bond to get out of jail. If the bail is deemed excessively high, this expert counsel might persuade the court to reduce it.


Bail is a legal term for a legally enforceable agreement. The agreement between the government and the person accused of committing a crime is known as bail. If a person is granted bail, they must sign a written agreement agreeing to appear in court until their case is concluded. They must also adhere to the conditions of the negotiated contract.

In the same manner that you can post bail, you can bond out of jail. A bond occurs when you are unable to pay your bail on your own and must seek the assistance of a cosigner. In a variety of situations, you can be bonded out of jail by hiring someone else to cover the cost of your release or having someone else pay it.

Defendants may be able to post a signature bond in some courts. This voluntary arrangement between the defendant and the court does not involve payment in advance. The defendant will owe the court a certain amount of money if they fail to appear. This sort of bail is usually designated for defendants who do not pose a significant risk of fleeing the country. Being a non-flight risk means you won’t try to flee the area, hide, or travel to another nation. If a person has the following characteristics, they are at a low chance of fleeing:

  • Have children or are part of a local family
  • There isn’t enough money to escape.
  • There have been no relations with other states or countries.
  • Obligations in the city, such as a house or a job.

When someone is arrested and taken into jail, they must undergo regular processes such as fingerprinting and mugshots. However, there is a large length of time, sometimes days, weeks, months, or even years, between the first arrest and the actual court date, during which a person charged with a crime may or may not be convicted.

If the defendant fails to appear in court, the bail bond agency will be required to pay the whole bail money to the court. The agent will then endeavor to locate the defendant and bring them to court to recover the funds within the agreed-upon time frame (usually 90 days).

A bond is a sum of money imposed by a judge in exchange for a defendant’s release from custody prior to their trial. In a few words, a bond is a written agreement signed by the defendant or one or more sureties to appear in court on the defendant’s behalf.

If you paid cash bail to the court—meaning you paid the entire bail sum—you will receive your money back once the defendant has made all of their scheduled court appearances. If the defendant fails to appear in court, the money will be forfeited, and you will never see it again.

Even if you are found guilty, the court will refund your bail money if you paid it directly to the court. The sum you paid to a bondsman as a premium is nonrefundable.

Being bonded helps to build trust between your company and its customers by assuring them that they will be financially protected from losses if you fail to meet your contractual responsibilities to them completely.

A bail bond is an agreement between a criminal defendant and the court to appear for trial or pay a certain amount of money. A bail bondsman cosigns the bail bond and charges the defendant a fee in exchange for ensuring that the payment is made.

A surety bond is a sort/type of bail bond. Only the United States and the Philippines have a commercial bail bond system. Bail in other nations may comprise a set of restrictions and conditions imposed on criminal defendants in exchange for their release until their trials.

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