Bail Bonds Terms, Part 1

If someone you care for finds themselves in need of a bail bondsman, you’ll want to keep these five bail bonds terms in mind.

  • Bail When someone is arrested, the court will assign a bail amount that will be determined by the nature and severity of the crime they have been accused of.  Bail can either be posted in full, in cash (see cash bail) or through the help of a licensed bail bondsman, more commonly known as a bail bond agent.
  • Bail Forfeiture A bail forfeiture happens when the defendant skips court.  If they were released on cash bail, that money is considered to be surrendered to the court.  If the defendant was released through the help of a bondsman, the bail bondsman will be responsible for paying the defendant’s full bail amount to the court as a penalty.  The bondsman will then sue the cosigners of the bail bond to recover that amount. If a bail bond is forfeited, the bondsman will typically petition the court to have additional time to find the defendant and return them into custody.  If they are successful, the forfeiture fee will not need to be paid to the court.
  • Cash Bail Posting cash bail is an alternative to posting bail bonds.  In this case, someone will need to put the defendant’s full bail amount up with the court, in cash.  As long as the defendant goes to court and finishes their case, that money (less court administrative fees) will be returned to the person who put it up.
  • Citation Release A citation release is also known as a cite-out. If a defendant is arrested for a low-level misdemeanor (simple drug possession, shoplifting, etc.), the arresting officer may give the defendant a citation that will include a date and time they are to appear in court without having to put any amount of money on the line.
  • Collateral Collateral is an item of value that is posted with a bondsman to secure and guarantee a bail bond.  Bail bonds collateral is generally required if the defendant’s bail amount is very high. It may also be required if the bail bonds cosigner is looking to set up a bail bonds payment plan.

Photo credit: Fotolia

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