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Bond Definition

A bond is a financial guarantee given to a court that a defendant who is released will return to court for their scheduled court hearing or else incur severe criminal charges. Bonds are usually provided to defendants who do not have enough money to pay the bail assigned to them by the court. 

What Is the Difference Between Bail vs. Bond?

There is a great deal of confusion between bail and bonds. Bail is the amount of money a judge decides a defendant must pay to be released from jail before their court hearing. A bond is a guarantee given to the court when a defendant does not have the financial resources to pay their set bail amount. A bond serves as a guarantee that the defendant can leave and that they will return for their scheduled court date.

Common Factors Analyzed at Bail Hearings

Courts typically analyze the factors below to determine the amount of bail:

  • Defendant's physical and mental condition
  • Defendant's financial resources
  • Defendant's family ties
  • Any established history with drug or alcohol abuse
  • Previous records of not attending court proceedings
  • Period of established residence in the local community

After a defendant is arrested, they are required to have a bail hearing. At the bail hearing, various factors will be analyzed to determine whether the defendant is a flight risk, their ties to the community, the severity of the crime they are being charged with, and their criminal history. Sometimes, a defendant will be released on their own recognizance by signing an agreement agreeing they will return to court and abide by any additional conditions the court recommends. A personal bond can be issued at a bail hearing where a defendant signs the bond saying they will be criminally liable for not returning to appear in court. Bail set with terms of release means a defendant may go free by paying the amount of bail set by the court either to the court or through a surety bond issued by a bail bond company. 

When Is an Individual Eligible for a Bond?

A defendant is eligible for a bond if they can prove that they or their family members do not have the financial resources to pay the bail that was set at their court hearing. Then, it will be up to the defendant to seek out a bail bond to cover the amount payable to the court. The defendant's eligibility for a bail bond is going to depend on their past criminal history and whether they are a flight risk. Bail bondsmen do not like clients who will cause them to pay the court, which is why they can be selective if the defendant has an unfavorable criminal history or is a potential flight risk.

Where Can I find a Bail Bond?

Typically, there are many bail bond storefronts located near the courthouse. Some of these establishments are not reputable, and it is wise to get a recommendation from either a court official or attorney to find the best possible bail bondsman. Another factor to be aware of is that a bail bondsman is going to charge a percentage fee ranging between 10-20% of the bail amount set by the court. Individuals need to have the monetary difference of that percentage so that the entire court fee is paid. Having the bail paid in full by cash or bail bond is the only way to be sure the defendant will not return to jail before their court hearing. 

Bond Glossary Definition

A bond is used to guarantee a court that a defendant will pay if they fail to show up for their court hearing. Bonds are used as a way to let defendants leave jail but still have a guarantee to come back to their scheduled court hearing and complete their legal proceedings. If a defendant can show that they don't have adequate financial resources to pay the bail set by the court, they can obtain a bond from a bail bondsman to cover their bail amount. Signing a bail bond with a bail bondsman guarantees that the defendant will return to court and if they do not, the bail bondsman has the right to seek them out and deliver them to the court to face criminal penalties.