List of Common Terminology for Bail Bonds

When one gets arrested, it can be a jarring experience which is further compounded by the whole processes afterward. Whether it be you or a loved one, the bail process can be confusing and a lot of the words may be foreign so here is a glossary of some of those most common terms.

Bail Bond

A bail is essentially a document that is signed by the defendant and their guarantor (in most cases a bail bond agent) which promises that the defendant will show up to court. 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.

Bail Conditions

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


Collateral typically 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 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.


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.


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.


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.

Do you have any questions on these terms or need any help regarding a bail bond? Please feel free to contact us anytime and we are here to help!

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