Difference Between Bail and Bond

Any person in the United States who is suspected of having committed a crime is not guilty until convicted in a court of law. That’s why just about anyone charged with an offense has the option to get bailed out or bonded out. What is bail, and what is bond?

To release a suspect from jail, it takes either a property bond or post-arrest bail. While they appear to mean the same thing, they only lead to the same outcome, which is temporary freedom. What’s different is where the money comes from.

What is Bail?

Generally, bail consists of cash or a substitute that functions as the equivalent of cash. When the bail amount has been determined, a suspect or someone in his support system provides this amount as protection. This payment is held by the court with the understanding that the person who posted it will come back for trial proceedings. If he doesn’t come back, the bail is forfeited. This amount will be held until the trial is over.

Bail Schedule

A jail usually has a bail schedule that lists specific amounts for common crimes, but judges are ultimately responsible for setting the exact sum. Since many suspects want to post bail money immediately, they can do so as soon as the judge determines the post-arrest bail. An arrested person can get bailed out when someone else pays the money as well.

If a suspect can’t afford the bail or doesn’t know anyone who can, he can request to get it lowered. This takes place either at the first time in court or at a special bail hearing. However, this depends on individual state guidelines.

What is Pre-Arrest Bail?

Pre-arrest bail is also known as anticipatory bail. It is simply a way for someone who expects to get arrested to seek bail. This is a common scenario in India.

What is a Bond Definition?

When a suspect lacks funds for bail, he can hire a bail bond company. This third party becomes responsible for the obligation or debt. Depending on the jurisdiction, this service might be delivered by bail bondsmen. In that case, an agent keeps 10 percent of the bail, regardless of what the suspect will do.

How Does a Property Bond Work?

To get the protection of a bond, the suspect has to present some serious collateral. This can include a car or a home, and it gets offered in addition to the 10 percent stipend. A bondsman who works for a bail bond company covers the bail money. If the suspect doesn’t show up for his trial or flees, it’s the bondsman’s responsibility to pay the court. He will most likely try to find the defendant as well.

How Does a Signature Bond Work?

There is actually another option. In less serious cases, defendants can sign a signature bond. This simply assures that they will come back to court based on their own recognizance. A signature bond might also be used for celebrities.


To release a suspect from jail, this all translates to the same. However, the difference is that those who pay bail are bailed out. Suspects who make a promise to pay or offer collateral are bonded out. The bail or bond definition doesn’t affect any of the trial proceedings.


There are some circumstances when a person might be held without bail or bond. This applies to certain drug offenses, repeat felony delinquents, crimes for which the usual ruling is life imprisonment or death, witness tampering, crimes of violence and obstruction of justice. In certain cases, a judge may also set a high amount of bail to keep a suspect in jail.

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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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