Types Of Bail

There are many different types of bail, the most common form of bail is called a surety bond. Here are a couple different forms of bail:


Also known as bail bond, a surety bond can be used for any amount of bail, but it is especially useful when the inmate/accused can’t afford to pay his or her full amount of bail. This type of bail often involves a friend or relative of the inmate/accused contacting a bail agent, also known as a bail bondsman. A bail agent is backed by a special type of insurance company called a surety company and pledges to pay the full value of the bond if the inmate/accused fails to appear in court. This is usually the safest form of bail for the inmate in case they happen to forget or miss a court hearing. The standard rate for bail in California is 10 percent of the bail amount. There is a California filed discount rate of 8 percent. Usually inmates/arrestees who are Veterans, AARP members, Union Workers, or represented by private counsel qualify for this rate. Depending on the amount of bail may require the bail bondsman to take collateral as a security interest. Collateral is returned when the arrestee/inmate finishes court. Cash, Cars, and houses are the most common forms of collateral on a surety bond.


Cash bail means that the inmate/accused or family pays the full amount of bail in cash. Some counties accept checks under $5,000, otherwise a cashiers check is needed. Cash Bail is held with the court until all court proceedings are finished. It can take up to six months after inmate/accused finishes court to have the money returned. Cash Bail can be risky if you happen to miss a court hearing. However, all money is returned upon exoneration of bail.


A judge may also choose to release a suspect on his own recognizance, meaning that he is responsible for showing up for court dates and does not have to pay bail. Personal recognizance is usually only allowed when the charge involves a relatively minor, or a nonviolent crime. There are many factors that are taken into account when determining who qualifies for being released on their own recognizance. Most violent crimes do not qualify for being released on their own recognizance, however, there are exceptions and these are determined be the presiding judge.


Sometimes a defendant can provide some property to act as a bond. In these cases, the court gets a lien (essentially a legal claim) on the property in the amount of the bail. If the defendant doesn’t show up for his court appearances, the court can foreclose on the property to recover the forfeited bail. Not all Courts allow this, and this form of payment is not always accepted, if you need information on a property bond please contact a bail bondsman.