A Glossary of Bail Bonds Terms

Getting arrested can be quite an ordeal that can be for some very overwhelming. But even beyond arrest, with things like hearings, bail and sentencing, the terms and vocabulary can be a lot for anyone not intimately familiar with them. In order to help explain some of these terms and hopefully lessen the burden of the whole ordeal, here is a short glossary dealing with bail terms you may encounter.

Bail Bond

A bail bond is basically a contract that is signed by the defendant and their guarantor (which is most often a bail bond agent) that promises the courts that the defendant will arrive schedules court hearings. With this agreement, the bail bond company will pay the bail amount and the defendant will pay at least 10% of the total bond amount to the bail bondsman.


Forfeiture is when the defendant is bailed out but then fails to appear in court as promised. Sometimes the court may extend to another date but if the defendant yet again fails to show, the bail will not be returned. At this point, a bail bond company may hire assistants to search for the defendant


When collateral is discuseed, it usually means property or items of value that can be used against a debt to secure a loan. If the terms of an agreement are not met, the items put up for collateral can be taken


A surety is basically like an insurance company. When a bail bondsman signs a bail bond they are ensuring that the defendant will be in attendance for their court appearance and in that they are acting as a surety.


An Indemnitor, also known as a co-signer, is someone who signs a document saying they agree to be held financially accountable if the defendant does not keep their promise.

Bail Conditions

These are the conditions that a courts set up to ensure that the defendant will be present in court for their trial.


A defendant is a person who is being accused of a crime. The defendant in many cases will either have a lawyer or public defender represent them in the case or negotiate some type of plea bargain or settlement.

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