What is Bail Bond?

The term Bail Bond has several distinct definitions: (1) it may indicate the security-cash or bond-given for the appearance of the defendant. These instruments are formally referred to as "Court Appearance Guaranty Bonds." (2) it may also mean the bondsman [i.e., the person who acts as surety (signer on the bail bond) for the defendant's appearance, and into whose custody the defendant is released]. (3) As a verb, it may refer to the release of the defendant [he was bailed out]. The first meaning is the most common and, for all intent and purposes, this definition will be employed on this website.

Admission to bail bond is an order from a competent court that the defendant be discharged from actual custody upon bail. The discharge on bail is accomplished by the taking of bail [i.e., the acceptance by the court or magistrate of security-either an undertaking or deposit-for the appearance of the defendant before a court for some part of the criminal proceeding].

Bail is evidenced by a bond or recognizance, which as a rule becomes a record of the court. The bond is in the nature of a contract between the jurisdiction [a municipality, county, state, or country (the United States)] on one side and the defendant and his surety on the other. The agreement recognizes that the jurisdiction will release the defendant from custody if the surety [the bail bond company] will guarantee that the defendant will appear at a specified time and place to answer the charges made against him. If the defendant fails to appear, the surety becomes the absolute debtor of the jurisdiction for the full amount of the bond.