Types of Bail Bonds
The nature of the bail bonds available in each case will depend on multiple bail factors, including the alleged crime(s), the criminal history of the accused and the jurisdiction where the arrest was made. The more common kinds of bonds are listed below:
Unsecured Bond. While no money is required upfront, the defendant signs a contract agreeing to pay the court the bail bond amount if he or she does not appear in court.
Cash Bond. As the name implies, if the bail is paid to the court in cash (depending on the jurisdiction, the court may also accept check, money order or credit card payment) a cash bond will be issued. Anyone can post cash bail on behalf of the defendant. Bail money will be returned at the end of the case unless the defendant fails to show up for court. A person who is unable to make cash bail may wish to contact a professional bail bondsman for help.
Property Bond. Sometimes called a secured bond, a property bond involves a pledge of real property (e.g., home or vacation home) by the defendant or anyone willing to put up collateral on behalf of the defendant. If a property bond is posted, the court is given a lien on the property which means the court has the right to foreclose on the property if the defendant fails to show up for court. In most cases the value of the property (or the equity therein) must be at least double the amount of the bond.
Surety Bond. With a surety bail bond, a bail agent or bondsman posts bail on behalf of the defendant. In exchange, the bonding agent charges a non-refundable fee (usually 10 percent of the total bail) and gets collateral from the defendant or a co-signor (usually family or friends) to reduce the risk of loss. The bail bondsman is liable to the court if the defendant fails to return to court, and may enlist the help of co-signors and bail enforcement agents if he or she tries to skip bail.
Federal Bond. A person charged with committing a federal crime may be required to post a federal bond to be bailed out of jail. Federal bonds are more expensive (usually a 15 percent fee) and require a surety bail bondsman. Unlike a professional bail bondsman, who guarantees bail from his or her own assets, a surety bail bondsman’s guarantee is backed by an insurance company.
Immigration Bond. An immigration bond is a federal bond that is needed to secure the pre-trial release of a person detained by the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS). Like other federal bonds, professional bail bondsmen cannot write these types of bonds; a specially licensed bonding agent is required. An immigration bond can cost as much as 15 to 20 percent (of the total bail amount) depending on a variety of factors, including the level of risk and the type of collateral available.
To learn more about how bail bonds work, including the amount you will need to pay and how much of your money you will get back, it is best to speak to a local bail attorney.