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The Difference Between Bail Bonds & Bail

Court cases can be complicated, and people sometimes get the terminology mixed up. It is common to hear people use the terms “bail” and “bail bonds” interchangeably. But they have different definitions, and it is important to know what each one means.


After being arrested and charged with a crime, the accused will be held in jail until they are brought before a judge for a hearing. At their hearing, the defendant will be able to enter a plea of guilty, not guilty or no contest. If the accused enters a plea of not guilty, a trial date will be set, and they can still be held in jail until the completion of their trial. The judge will often make the decision to hold a defendant to ensure that they will be present at all future court appointments.

However, the defendant will have the option to post bail. This means they will give the court a predetermined amount of money as a form of collateral to ensure that they will appear in court as ordered. In some cases, the defendant will be able to post bail before seeing a judge. However, if the defendant is facing a more serious criminal charge, bail will not be set until the hearing. The defendant will be released after posting bail, but they are still required to show up for future court appointments until the conclusion of the trial.

At the end of the trial, if the defendant showed up as ordered, the bail money will be returned. If the defendant does not show up for their trial, the bail money will not be returned, and a warranted will be issued for their arrest.

Bail Bonds

Sometimes the bail will be set at such a high amount that the defendant will be unable to pay it. If this happens, they have the option to utilize the services of a bail bondsmen. The bondsmen will pay a portion of the bail on behalf of the defendant and promise to pay the rest if the accused does not show up to court as ordered. If the defendant does show up as ordered, then the bail money will be returned to the bail bondsmen.

Importance of Bail Bonds

Bail bonds play a critical role in the criminal justice system. They help prevent individuals from being required to pay the full cost of bail up front. In addition, bail bonds prevent innocent people who cannot afford to post bail from sitting in jail until their trial.

The more time an individual spends behind bars, the more their personal life starts to suffer. Being free allows them to tend to personal matters, and this could prevent them from losing their job or damaging personal relationships.

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Bail Bond Rates

In general, the standard industry rate for bail bonds is 10% of the face amount of bail. For example, if the face amount of bail is $10,000, the fee is $1,000. Read More


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