When most people hear the word ‘bail’ they typically associate it with a set cash amount.  The general thought is that if you’re arrested and offered the opportunity to be let out on bail, you can do so if you can fork up the requested cash.  However, bail isn’t always this simple, especially when the amount requested is large.  Every state differs as to what types of bail they accept, but below are the five most common to be aware of.

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1. Cash Bond

For petty crimes, a cash bond is usually enough to release someone that has been arrested.  If the defendant cannot personally afford to pay their bail, a relative of the defendant can be asked to do so.  The amount requested is usually determined by the court or the state, and defendants are usually released immediately from police custody once the money has been posted.

2. Personal Recognizances and Own Recognizances Bonds

Sometimes a court will release an arrestee on a personal or own recognizances bond.  Often called PR or OR bonds, these don’t require a cash payment, as they work in a similar way to citations and release.  If the court approves this kind of bail, the defendant will be released after their hearing so long as they agree to adhere to the bail terms set in place and agree to reappear in court on a pre-determined date.

3. Signature Bond

A signature bond, also called an unsecured bond, involves the court applying a bail amount but enabling the defendant to leave police custody without it being paid upfront.  Again, it works in a similar way to citations and release, but in this case, the defendant will only have to pay money to the court if they fail to show up when requested.

4. Secured Bond

A secured bond involves the defendant providing an asset that the court can take, usually property, if they fail to turn up to court when requested.  The defendant is usually released immediately after signing a document to say they agree to the terms.  Secured bonds are usually requested in lieu of high bail cash amounts.

5. Bail Bond

Finally, defendants who are unable to provide any of the above, or who cannot afford the cash bond requested, can opt to provide a bail bond instead.  These are usually posted on the defendant’s behalf by an agent like Goldberg Bail Bonds.  When used, the defendants will pay the agent a fee for posting the bail on their behalf and the agents agree to pay the court should the defendant not turn up for their court date.  In a similar way to secured loans, bail bond agencies usually require the defendant to offer some sort of collateral or security against the bond.

Being aware of the different types of bail is important, not just for yourself, but for your family members as well.  Bail isn’t as straightforward as TV shows like Law and Order will have you believe, but there are options available for those who don’t have cash at hand.

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