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What’s the Difference Between Bail and Bail Bonds?

What's the Difference Between Bail and Bail Bonds

Posted 8 years ago by Detroit Bail Bonds

The words “bail” and “bond” are often used interchangeably, and people generally understand what you mean. However, there is a difference between bail and bail bonds. It’s pretty simple.

What is Bail?

Bail is a set amount of money paid in exchange for the release of someone who was arrested.

As part of the release, the defendant promises to appear in court for all of his or her hearings. If the defendant shows up in court as promised, the bail amount will be returned. If not, he or she can be arrested and will forfeit the bail amount.

Once the judge has set the amount of the bail, that amount or a specific percentage must be “posted,” or paid to the court. Once the bail is posted, the court will issue a document that shows he or she may be released.

The bail amounts depend on the charges.

According to state law in Michigan, except in certain situations, a person accused of a crime is entitled to bail. The bail amount should not be excessive.

The bail amount is based on:

  • The seriousness of the offense.
  • The protection of the public.
  • The previous criminal record and the dangerousness of the person accused.
  • The probability or improbability of the person accused appearing at the trial.

What Does Bond Mean?

Now, get your mind out of jail for a minute. Let’s define “bond.”

In the financial world, bond is defined as a “written and signed promise to pay a certain sum of money on a certain date, or on fulfillment of a specified condition. All documented contracts and loan agreements are bonds.”

In short, a “bond” is an agreement.

What's the Difference Between Bail and Bail Bonds

What’s the Difference between Bail and Bail Bonds?

Bail is the amount of money that a judge says must be paid before someone can get out of jail. A bail bond is the agreement that is made to make sure the rules are followed after that person gets out of jail. That’s the difference between bail and bail bonds.

Further, a bail bond is defined as a written promise signed by a defendant or a surety (one who promises to act in place of another) to pay an amount fixed by a court if the defendant fails to appear in court.

Generally, any person can post his or her own bail. If the defendant can’t afford to bail himself or herself out of jail, anyone age 18 or older can post the bail.

Most defendants are unable to post their own bail, so they seek help from a bail bond agent, who, for a fee of about 10 to 20 percent, posts the bail.

Types of Bail Bonds

Bail bonds could be of any of the following types depending on the crime and the location of the arrest. In some cases, the court does allow the accused to walk away with just a written guarantee, known as personal recognizance.

  1. Unsecured Bond. In this case the accused gives the court a written guarantee that he will furnish the bail amount in case he does not appear for the trial hearings. There is no amount paid upfront.
  2. Surety Bond. In this case, the bail amount is posted by the bail bond company after an agreement is reached between the accused and the company. Here the liability of ensuring that the accused attends the hearings lies with the bond company. The company charges a service fee for the bond amount from the accused.
  3. Cash Bond. Here the bail amount is paid in cash, through check or through credit card either by the defendant or by someone on behalf of the defendant.
  4. Secured Bond. Also called the property bond, this bail bond is paid in terms of property, which is generally twice the value of the bail bond. The court collects the property papers and can foreclose the property in case the offender fails to appear for the trial hearings. The property could belong to the accused or to someone acting on his or her behalf.
  5. Federal Bond. A federal bond is issued in case the crime is of a federal nature. Here the surety of an insurance company is a must, and the insurance company charges a higher fee than a bail bond company.
  6. Immigration Bond. In special cases, where an individual is detained by the immigration department, such bonds are posted. This is a special type of federal bond and therefore follows the procedure of federal bonds too.

If you want more details about the difference between bail and bail bonds, or need any other information, let us know.

Contact us through our website at or by phone at 313-244-0669.

What's the Difference Between Bail and Bail Bonds?

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