Bail bonds come in many forms, but the most common bail bonds are cash bonds and surety bonds. In general, a surety bail bond is only posted by a qualified bail agency in criminal cases. If the defendant does not appear in court, the bonding company is liable for the full amount of the bond posted.

bail bonds

It is essential to understand the bail bonds process and the definition of surety bonds in court-related issues.

Overview of Surety Bonds

It involves three parties: the principal, the surety, and the obligee. The principal is the company that will purchase the bond; the company or person responsible for issuing the bond is the surety, and the obligee is the company or person requiring the services of the principal.

The most important advantage of a surety bond is that the contract between the principal and obligee is protected and the principal has to meet his or her side of the deal once the obligee delivers. In a court case, the defendant does not have to worry about raising the entire bail amount; he or she can pay a small fee to the bonding company, which is partially refundable. Showing up in court means there is no risk of losing cash, except for other payments like taxes and child support (if backdated). The most significant disadvantage is that not everyone qualifies for a surety bond and the bonding company may refuse to assist some individuals if the risks outweigh the returns. The individuals linked to licensing, construction, or non-bail bonds may not qualify if they have poor finances.

A court bond is a bond prescribed based on a statute. They are further divided into fiduciary bonds and judicial bonds. Probate or fiduciary bonds require an individual to act on behalf of others. It will also guarantee that the individual will care for other people’s property and perform specific duties in good faith.

Public official bonds guarantee the honest performance of appointed or elected people into public positions. Examples of the officials requiring these bonds include commissioners, treasurers, judges, and law enforcement officers (notary public).

Cash bonds

Whereas a surety bond requires three parties, this type requires two parties only. The defendant or the person representing him (his family, friend, neighbor or colleague) pays the full bail amount to secure his freedom with a promise that he will show up in court. If he returns to court, he will get back the cash bond amount.

Surety bonds and cash bonds are often mixed up. The difference is that a surety bond requires a third-party to cover the bond amount (usually for a fee) whereas a cash bond does not need a third-party since the defendant’s family pays the bail amount in cash. The defendant is set free on the condition that he shows up on the scheduled hearing date.