Differences Between Bond & Bail

When a person finds himself or herself in jail, it could be argued that he or she usually wants to be released as soon as possible. The aim of this article is to describe how the process of being released from jail in the United States works by outlining the differences between bail and bond.

What is bail?

Bail can be thought of as a combination of a payment and a promise. When a person who has been arrested posts bail, he or she is paying the court in order to be released from jail and simultaneously agreeing to show up for his or her court date.

Depending on the severity of the crime and the person’s criminal background, he or she may be able to post bail immediately after being arrested. In other cases, the person will have to remain in jail and wait for what is known as a bail hearing. The time frame for a bail hearing varies.

During the bail hearing, the judge will decide if the person is eligible to post bail. If so, the judge will then determine the cost of bail.

Based on a number of factors, bail may be less than five thousand dollars or more than one million dollars. Bail may also be waived. A person is released on his or her “own recognizance” in these situations.

What is bond?

Bail and bond are somewhat synonymous terms used to describe a financial “penalty” imposed by a judge on a person who has been arrested. When a person makes the payment, he or she is agreeing to appear before the judge to plead his or her case.

The technical differences between bail and bond lie in the forms of payment and the ascribed names. For example, cash bonds are essentially bail. In fact, bond is often referred to as “bail bond.”

As previously stated, a person may be allowed to post bail by making a cash payment to the court. The money is refunded if the defendant appears on his or her court date or dates as ordered by the judge.

What happens when a person does not have cash to post bail?

If a person has not been released on his or her own recognizance or does not have enough money to post bail, he or she will have to use the services of a bail bond company in order to be released from jail.

Other payment options include property bonds and surety bonds.

What are property bonds?

As implied by the name, a property bond is a form of payment in which the defendant uses the title to his or her property or properties instead of cash to post bail. The property value must be enough to cover the cost of bail; and in the event that the defendant fails to show up for his or her trial, the property is forfeited.

What are surety bonds?

Surety bonds are bonds that someone else agrees to pay on the defendant’s behalf, and these services are usually rendered by bail bondsmen.

The Booking Process: How Does It Work?

Your Rights Following An Arrest

Being arrested is a trying and uncertain time. Understanding your rights under the law can help alleviate some of the anxiety, and ensure that you are getting the treatment you deserve as a citizen.

Immediately following your arrest you will be transported to the police station for intake processing. The intake process involves confirming your identity by asking you basic questions such as name, address, date of birth, and social security number. You will have your fingerprints taken, as well as being photographed in what is commonly known as a “mug shot.”

Once your identity is confirmed, the police will conduct a search for any outstanding warrants, summons, or unpaid fines which will be included in your arraignment before a judge. You will be searched and have all personal items confiscated. Any illegal items found on your person may lead to additional charges being brought against you. Although contraband is not returned, your personal effects will be given back to you upon your release. You will be given a voucher listing the personal items that you have a right to retrieve. If for some reason you are not given a voucher, you have a right to ask for the voucher number as well as issuing officer’s name and badge number to confirm that the correct items are returned to you when released.

You may have to undergo a medical examination during which you will have to submit to a blood, urine, or breath test if arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence. Be sure to make the police aware of any medications you take for a serious illness. It is your right to have your prescription medications listed on your prisoner medical treatment form and made available to the medical staff if necessary. Additionally, you cannot be denied medical treatment if you are injured or unwell.

Once the intake processing is completed, you will be taken to Central Booking (or the jurisdiction’s equivalent) for arraignment processing. While in custody awaiting arraignment, you are entitled to certain basic rights. You will be provided with breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The meat on the sandwiches provided for lunch and dinner is halal, and if you are a vegetarian you may request a cheese sandwich. Additionally, you must be provided with soap, toilet paper, and drinking water.

It is essential that you are aware of your right to have an attorney present before answering any questions or providing a statement to police. If you cannot afford to pay a lawyer, a public defender will act on your behalf. Additionally, arresting officers are not required to advise you of your right to remain silent (Miranda warning) unless they intend on questioning you. However, you should be aware that the police can use anything they hear you say while in custody as part of the case against you even if you were not read your rights. Refrain from speaking about your case to anyone, including on the telephone or to another prisoner, until your lawyer is present.

Remaining calm and courteous to the officers will only serve to make the booking process run more smoothly. During this process your basic human rights must be met, you are not required to incriminate yourself, and are entitled to legal counsel even if unable to pay.