Bail Bond Definition and Legal Meaning

On this page, you'll find the legal definition and meaning of Bail Bond, written in plain English, along with examples of how it is used.

What is Bail Bond?

(n) Bail Bond is the security bond issued by insurance companies, covering the risk involved in releasing a defendant in judicial custody until the conclusion of the trial. Insurance companies do such cover through bail bondsmen and such bonds are released once the judgment is made.

History and Meaning of Bail Bond

Bail Bonds have been in use for centuries and were a part of English common law. The concept originated as a way to protect defendants from being held in jail for indefinite periods of time, without being found guilty. Bail bonds allow defendants to be released from jail by paying a certain amount of money, which is held as a form of security to ensure their appearance at future court dates. Bail bonds are typically set by a judge, and the amount is determined based on factors such as the severity of the crime and the likelihood that the defendant will flee.

In the United States, bail bonds are issued by licensed bail bondsmen, who post the bond and charge a non-refundable fee, typically 10% of the bond amount. In exchange for the fee, the bail bondsman takes on the financial risk of the defendant not showing up for court, and can use a variety of methods to ensure the defendant’s appearance, including sending bounty hunters to find and return the defendant if necessary.

Examples of Bail Bond

  1. After being arrested for a DUI, John was released from jail on a $5,000 bail bond, which was posted by a local bail bondsman.
  2. Mary’s son was arrested for theft and was unable to afford the $10,000 bail bond set by the judge, so she contacted a bail bondsman who was able to post the bond for a fee of $1,000.
  3. The judge ordered that the defendant be released on a personal recognizance bond, which meant that no bail bond was required, but the defendant would owe the court money if they failed to appear at future court dates.

Legal Terms Similar to Bail Bond

  1. Bond forfeiture: If a defendant fails to appear in court, the bail bond can be forfeited and the bail bondsman can take legal action to recover the bond amount.
  2. Cash bond: An alternative to a bail bond, where the defendant or a representative pays the full bail amount in cash to the court.
  3. Surety bond: A type of bail bond where a third party, such as a bail bondsman, agrees to be responsible for the defendant’s appearance in court.