What is Bail?

Bail is a financial arrangement that a bail bonding agency will make on behalf of the criminal defendant. A bail bonding agency, acting for the defendant, will arrange with the court to have a suspect released from jail pending the trial in exchange for money or collateral, which may be cash, assets, or a bond. The court sets the monetary value of the bail.

The bail agency is then responsible for ensuring that the individual arrives in court on the day of his or her trial. If the individual does not turn up in court, then the bail agency may hire a bounty hunter to track the individual down. A bond is a surety that the full bail amount will be paid if the individual does not appear for scheduled court dates.


“Bail” is money or property that a defendant puts up as a promise to return for future court dates. When setting the amount of bail, the judge takes into account the seriousness of the crime, whether the defendant is a risk to the community, and whether they are a “flight risk” and likely to run away.

If the defendant fails to appear and the bail bondsman must pay the court the full amount of the bail, anyone who cosigned or pledged collateral (property) for the bail can lose the collateral and/or be sued for the money the bail bondsman had to pay to the court.