What Is the Difference Between Bail and Bond?

Bail vs. Bond

Difference between Bail and Bond

Not being able to differentiate a bail from a bond is a common thing, specifically because they’re constantly used as a one concept – ‘bail bonds’ – but the truth is that they are separate terms that need to be understood so all people in need of bailing a loved one can manage these unfortunate situations with less hassle.

Bails and bonds have the same effect – temporary freedom – but they’re actually different. The difference is subtle but it doesn’t mean is not important. It all comes down to the source of the money and who and what is securing the defendant’s freedom. Bail is the amount a defendant or their family need to pay to secure their release, but if he or she fails to appear at the specific dates at court, then that amount is forfeited. However, if the bail is paid, then you can say the defendant’s been bailed out.

Even so, many criminals don’t have enough funds to make bail, and what happens? Bonds make an entrance, which are bail monies paid by a bail bond company. The loan has to be secured with collateral, such as a house or a car, but still, the defendant needs to pay 10% of the bail amount, most of the time. 

All this process is made through bail bondsmen, who pay the court a portion of the bail to guarantee that the rest will be paid in case the accused disappears. 

What Is a Bail?

Every time you think about bail, think about an almost-free card because that’s exactly what it is. When someone gets arrested, the officer takes them to the detention center to start processing or booking them, and after that, authorities hold them in jail until the time for the bail hearing comes. These take place in the main bond hearing court. 

If the defendant themselves (or their friends or family) can pay the bail amount then the court releases them from jail immediately. The process is also known as posting bail.

What Is a Bond?

If the defendant asked for help from a bail bond agency, pay 10% of it and don’t miss any court date, then the court refunds the full bail amount to the bail bond agency, while the agency keeps that 10% – that’s if the defendant shows up to all of their court dates.

In short, a bond (finance) is a loan offered to help you pay your bail amount when you get arrested, so it can be understood as a for-free card, and maybe the thing that will help you understand it better is to think of it as buying a car or a home. A promise you make to pay the balance in the future. A loan you need to qualify for and make a down payment. 

A bail bond is a loan that will help you cover the bail amount. You pay a fee to a certified bondsman and that’s a non-refundable 10% of the bail payment – most of the time. A bail bond agreement pays for the whole bail amount.

Once the defendant is released from jail, then he or she might enter into a pre-trial release program while the crime stays pending, a process that normally begins with a bond.

What happens when the accused misses their court appearances?

If an accused goes missing before their court date than authorities go looking for them and maybe even some bounty hunters. Bounty hunters – are also called fugitive recovery agents – are people that capture fugitives or criminals for a bounty from the state, something that can be found almost exclusively in the United States. Fugitive Recovery Agents locate and retrieve fugitives who have fled, and that didn’t show up at court. 

What is the signature bond?

This is mostly for defendants who don’t represent a flight risk, low-level offender that can make a written promise to appear in court, called a signature bond, one that loses its value in case the offender fails to appear in court, which would mean that now he or she has to pay the court a set amount of money. 

Bail vs. Bond

These two words are often used interchangeably when it comes to jail release business, and even though they’re different, they are definitely closely related to each other. While bail is the money a defendant has to pay in order to get out of jail, a bond is posted on a defendant’s behalf, and it’s usually through a bail bond company, so it can secure their release and get everything solved with the law court.

If you still have doubts regarding the bails and bonds world, this table made by Diffen’s webpage will clear all your basic questions:

BailBond
AboutBail is the cash payment paid by the defendant to the court.A bond is the bondsman’s pledge to make good on bail if the defendant doesn’t appear
PaymentCash only.Party agrees to be responsible for the debt and obligation of the defendant.
RefundBail money will be returned at the end of the trial if all the court requirements are fulfilled.Money paid as a fee for services will not be returned.
TypeSecured Secured 

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