There are different types of bail bonds possible. Two common options are a cash bond and a surety bond. While they are similar, there are a few critical differences to keep in mind.
The Cash Bond
A cash bond is exactly what it sounds like. It is a cash exchange between the defendant and the court or someone providing the cash for the defendant. This cash is paid to the court to cover the entire amount of the bail. The court then holds the cash as collateral. When the defendant appears in court as ordered, the cash is returned less any court fees, debts, and judgments (if applicable).
For small bail amounts, a cash bond is a logical option. It is easy to complete and does not require putting up any other type of collateral. However, if the bond is set high, it can be very difficult for many defendants and their families to quickly gather the necessary cash.
A Surety Bond
A surety bond involves an agent between the defendant or the representative and the court. In these types of bonds, the defendant, friend, or family member pays a percentage of the amount of the bond to the bail bond company, acting as the agent. This is typically ten percent of the total bail amount. The bail company then supplies the court with a “Surety Bond” stating that the bond company will be responsible for the total amount of the bond should that client not go to all of their court dates or be re-arrested while released on their bond. When the defendant appears in court as ordered, the court will issue a letter of exoneration. This letter states that the defendant is no longer on the bond and releases the bond company from responsibility. The bond company will need a copy of this exoneration letter and then they can release any collateral that was being used to secure the bond.