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JBABB Criminal Defense Attorneys offer full service legal representation for those affected by Texas law enforcement or the Texas criminal court system.

What is bail? What is bond? Different kinds of bonds? What?

JBABB Law - Bail Bond

The words “bail” and “bond” are often seen together and near each other, yet there is a lot of confusion about which one is which, how they relate to each other, and what variations there are of each one. The best consumer is an educated consumer, so here’s to hoping this helps clear up some confusion.Following an arrest, a person is held in jail. But they don’t have to be held indefinitely. Being held in jail before a trial deposition date is done to insure that the accused person will actually appear in court to face their charges, rather than skipping town, running away, or simply forgetting. However, it’s obviously extremely inconvenient to hang out in jail waiting for a trial date than can be a relatively long time away. To remedy this, the court offers an alternative to being held captive, and that is bail. An amount is decided upon that the jailed person must offer up as collateral to appear at all of their scheduled court dates, or risk a total forfeit of what they offered up for their release. In Texas, as long as the defendant makes all of their court appearances, their bail is returned to them regardless of the outcome of the trial.

When a person can’t immediately pay their bail with cash, it becomes a bond, typically handled by a bondsman. If the cash isn’t on hand to pay a person’s bail, they essentially make a promise to appear in court, or pay the bail if they don’t. A bondsman has a standing agreement with the county and/or courts, and usually charges around 10% of the bail amount to get their client out of jail. Should their client not appear, they are now responsible for paying the court the amount of the bail.

Different types of bonds.

Okay, this is where it gets kind of confusing. Any method of paying bail is technically a bond, even if you pay it yourself. There are four different kinds of bonds that fall into two categories: secured and unsecured. The first three I’ll talk about are secured bonds, and the last bond is unsecured. First off, there is a cash bond, which is a direct physical cash payment to the court. A cash bond is what is commonly referred to as bail. Next up is a property bond, which is a defendant offering up their property ownership as collateral for their release. Third is the rare case when someone is released under their own recognizance, which means that the court is allowing for the release of the jailed person with no collateral asked for, so long as they don’t leave the area. Again, this is extremely rare compared to every other type of bond. Lastly is the unsecured bond, called a surety bond. This is where the bondsman comes into play. They offer the courts what is essentially an IOU, meaning that the bondsman takes ownership of the defendant's bond and are now responsible for them, as I mentioned earlier.  The important thing to remember about bail and bonds is that neither resolves the charge associated with them, it simply permits a person to get out of jail while the case is pending.

Hopefully this helped alleviate some of the confusion about bail and bond definition, and for all of your bail, bond, and defense needs, feel free to contact Jailbug for a free consultation.