Why bail and the bail bond are not the same

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A person must spend some time in jail, at least for a day or two, until the police file the charges in the court, and the only way to avoid jail is to furnish bail that allows the person to walk free. Bail is financial security furnished by the arrested person that the court accepts as surety, and the person assures the court of attending the trial when called for. Normally, the trial begins after some weeks of arrest, and the onus of proving himself not-guilty rests on the accused or defendant. If the defendant is unable to secure bail immediately after the arrest, then jail time is unavoidable. 

As the legal process takes a long time and there is no certainty about the commencement of trial, the only way to stay out of jail during the pre-trial days is to arrange for bail.

Bail or bail bond?

When discussing jail release, people normally use the terms bail and bail bond interchangeably.  The terms are much similar as both help to obtain the release of a person under arrest pending trial either by posting bail or obtaining a bail bond. However, there are some differences between bail and bail bonds because bail is money paid by the defendant to seek release from jail. But a bond is an undertaking posted on behalf of the arrested person by a bail bond company or bail bondsman to secure his release. 

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Modality of availing bail

If the offense is minor and the arrested person has a decent background with no prior criminal record, the court might release him based on his written promise. But for all other instances seeking bail is the only way to get out from jail or avoid spending time in custody. The court considers the seriousness of the case and the person’s background, earning capabilities, and criminal record to determine the bail amount by assessing the risks of releasing the person. To post bail, the person must deposit the bail amount or bail bond in court to ensure immediate release. The bail stipulates the conditions for release which, if violated, can result in arresting the person and forfeiting the bail amount deposited with the court. 

When is the bail bond useful?

Knowing how bail bonds work will help to understand its usefulness. Arranging money for bail is not always easy for everyone, and they can avail the services of a bail bondsman who is a licensed bail agent to issue a bail bond for the bail amount for furnishing to the court. At the same time, the bail bondsman acts as a guarantor of the defendant and assures the court that the person will abide by conditions of bail and co-operate with the legal process that will follow.

Depositing the full bail amount in cash is necessary to avail bail, but for availing bail bonds, it is enough to pay only a 10% premium of the bail amount to the bail bondsman for ensuring release from jail. The bondsman will post the bail bond only on receipt of the premium amount.