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Bail Bond Glossary

Posted on March 8, 2012 · Posted in Bail Bonds

Bail Bond Glossary To Help Understand Some Uncommon Terms in the BailBond Industry

At JailGuide, we know and understand that some of our readers, and possibly a few of the bail bond clients you may serve have found our site because they are looking for bail bonds for the first time. JailGuide is dedicated to helping our readers get the best information possible about their particular bail bonding situation.

This budding glossary of bail bond terms was written to help our readers get a better understanding of the many bail bond terms that they may encounter during the process of getting a bail bond for themselves or someone they are co-signing for.

If you see a bailbond term which may be incorrect or you see a bail bond term which may be absent from our list, please feel free to contact JailGuide with the information about the term and we will address it promptly.

Bail Bond Terms

  • Absconding Debtor: An individual who flees a jurisdiction to avoid having to stand trial and fulfill his or her legal obligation.
  • Affidavit: An affidavit is a written statement that contains the facts of a situation. When a witness, plaintiff, or defendant completes an affidavit, the individual is under oath that the statements he or she makes are fact.
  • Appeal: An appeal is a process by which either the defense or prosecution will request that a new trial be had in a higher court to review the decision made by the first court. The higher court is then called an appellate court. The individual requesting the appeal is called the appellant.
  • Arraign: The court action in which a defendant’s name is called by an official, the official (usually a judge) reads the charges against the defendant, and asks the defendant how he or she pleads. This process is called arraignment.
  • Arrest: If you are looking for a bail bond, chances are good that you have been arrested or know someone who has been arrested. An arrest occurs when a police officer or officer of the law take a crime suspect into custody. After an arrest, a suspect is generally transported to a booking facility, which is where they may be kept in the short term while they await bail.
  • Arrest Warrant: Some of our clients have had arrest warrants out of them. An arrest warrant is an official legal document that is issued by a public officer. The document authorizes an individual to be arrested and detained. Sometimes, if a client has gotten out of jail on bail but fails to appear in court or fulfill his or her legal obligation, an arrest warrant will be issued for that individual.
  • Bench Trial: A bench trial is a trial over which a judge will preside instead of a jury.
  • Bail: Bail is the amount of money or collateral that that a court will hold onto in exchange for a suspect’s fulfillment of his or her legal obligation to the courts. If the suspect fails to fulfill his or her legal obligation, the bail will not be returned to the suspect. However, as long as the suspect fulfills his or her legal obligation, the bail will be returned to the bail payee, even if the individual is found to be guilty.
  • Bail Bondsman: A bail bondsman, or bonding agent, is an individual or a company, who provides a suspect with the bail he or she needs to be released from jail on bail. The bail bondsman is responsible for ensuring that the suspect fulfills his or her legal obligation to the courts.
  • Bail Forfeiture: In the event that a defendant gets out of custody on bail, the defendant must complete his or her full legal obligation to the courts. However, if the defendant fails to complete his o her legal obligation, the defendant forfeits the bail refund. This is called bail forfeiture.
  • Bail Schedule: When a suspect is arrested, the suspect will be accused of specific crimes and those crimes will have different bail amounts associated with them. The bail schedule is a list of the base bail amounts associated with different crimes. These bail amounts may vary from municipality to municipality. Also, the bail schedule is just the base amount of the bail. Bail amounts can vary based on other factors such as the nature of the crime, the criminal history of the defendant, defendant labeled a flight risk, etc.
  • Bounty Hunter: In the event that a suspect is released from custody on bail but does not fulfill his or her legal obligation, a bounty hunter may be hired to find and arrest the individual. When a bounty hunter is used, the bounty hunter has an arrest warrant that entitles him or her to arrest and detain the suspect. The U.S. is the only country that allows legal bounty hunting. The bounty hunter will receive a monetary reward for the arrest of a suspect.
  • Cash Bond: When a suspect is given the opportunity to get out of custody on bail, the bail may be called a “cash only” bail, which means that the suspect must supply the courts with cash in exchange for his or her release.
  • Charge: A charge is the term used to describe the crime for which the suspect has been arrested. Charges may be misdemeanor or felonies. A suspect can be arrested for multiple charges.
  • Collateral: Assets that a suspect pledges as part of a loan repayment in the event that the suspect cannot provide cash. Collateral may include cash, vehicles, houses, and more. This is also called Collateral Security.
  • Co-Signor: This is someone else who signs the bail bond contract with you. If you are unable to meet your obligations and either go to court to face trial and you skip bond, the bail bond agent may go to your co-signor to retrieve the amount of the bond in full. This could very well mean the bail bond agent taking property from the co-signor.
  • Court Order: A judge may require a specific action to be taken during the legal process. If so, the judge will demand this action in a court order. The court order also establishes administrative processes that pertain to court action.
  • Defendant: The defendant (or suspect) is the individual who has been accused of committing a crime.
  • Docket: The docket is a log that contains full information about each case. The docket is organized chronologically and summarizes court proceedings.
  • Felony: A felony is a type of criminal offense for which a defendant can be charged. Felony crimes generally have higher bail amounts and stricter sentences than other types of crimes.
  • Federal Bond: A bond for cases that deal with federal offenses such as interstate crimes.
  • Fugitive: A fugitive is an individual who is fleeing custody. Bounty hunters may be used to track down fugitives.
  • Immigration Bond: A bond set for someone held by the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service for things such as an immigration violation.
  • Incarceration: When a defendant has to stay in jail or a penitentiary.
  • Indictment: An indictment is a charge that is issued by a grand jury in which the jury states that there is enough evidence to support the claim against the defendant to warrant a trial going forward. Indictments are generally used with felony cases.
  • Jurisdiction: Jurisdiction may refer to the geographic area where a court has the authority to decide cases. Jurisdiction may also refer to the court’s authority to hear a case.
  • Lien: A lien is a claim upon property by when the property owner is in debt. In such a situation, a bail bonding agency may take out a lien on a defendant’s property to ensure that the defendant completes his or her legal obligation. The defendant will remain ownership of the property during this time.
  • Misdemeanor: A type of criminal offense that is considered to be minor.
  • Posting Bail: When a defendant is given the opportunity to get out of jail on bail, the defendant will “post bail” when he or she supplies the court with the full bail amount. Many defendants use the services of a bail bonding agency to post the full amount of bail required to be released from custody.
  • Recognizance: Some defendants will be released from custody on their own recognizance, which means that they will not be required to pay for bail. However, individuals who are released on their own recognizance are still required to return to court to complete their full legal obligations.
  • Remand: When a defendant is not given the opportunity to leave custody on bail or on his or her own recognizance, or cannot afford to make bail, the individual is held on remand.
  • Surety Bond: A contract with a bail agent (or company) for the bail bond amount. A surety company underwrites the bond in exchange for payment of a premium percentage of the bail’s full amount. A form of collateral secures the remaining bond amount.
  • Surety: A surety is an individual or entity that pays bail for a defendant and then assumes responsibility of a defendant. The surety ensures that the defendant completes his o her legal obligation buy appearing in court. If the defendant fails to complete his or her legal obligation, the surety will lose the money that he or she committed to the defendant’s bail.
  • Warrant: A warrant is an official authorization that allows authorities to perform a specific act related to a crime that a suspect is accused of committing. An arrest warrant is one type of warrant that authorizes a suspect to be arrested and detained.

Old Caen Prison Means FreedomIf you don’t have the cash readily available to pay the bail bond fee you can always get a quick loan. If you need a quick loan to help pay for the costs of a bail bond, please call 877-778-3045 or get a cash loan for bail and take 100 days to repay.


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