The Different Types of Bail Bonds

What are bail bonds?

Bail bonds are a type of insurance policy purchased by defendants to secure their release from jail before trial. The bond is posted by a bail agent, who will receive the total amount if the defendant fails to appear for their court date.

There are two types of bail bonds – surety bonds and cash bonds. A bail agent posts surety bonds on behalf of the defendant, and they are responsible for ensuring that the defendant appears in court. The defendant themselves posts cash bonds, and if they fail to appear in court, they will forfeit the total amount of the bond.

Bail bonds are an important part of our judicial system, as they allow defendants to be released while awaiting trial. Read this blog from Wichita bonds to learn how do bail bond work

Types of bail bonds:

There are three types of bail bonds: cash bail, surety bond, and property bond.

Cash bail is the total amount paid to the court by the defendant or a co-signer. The money is returned to the defendant or co-signer when the case is over, as long as the defendant appears for all scheduled court appearances. If the defendant does not appear in court, the cash bail is forfeited and may be applied toward any fines or fees owed.

A surety bond is when a professional bail bond agent posts a bond on behalf of the defendant. The bail bondsman typically charges a non-refundable fee (10% of the total bond amount) and requires collateral before posting the bond.

Cash bail bonds

Cash bail bonds have come under fire recently, with many arguing that it disproportionately affects low-income defendants. A judge typically sets cash bail at an amount the defendant must pay to be released from jail pending trial. If the defendant cannot pay the bail, they remain in prison.

Critics of the system argue that it effectively punishes poor people, who are more likely to remain in jail simply because they cannot afford to pay the bail. It can lead to other problems, such as job loss and missed rent payments, which can further spiral someone into poverty.

Some states have done away with cash bail, opting for a risk-assessment system that considers factors like criminal history and flight risk.

Property bail bonds

Property bail bonds are a type of bail in which the defendant’s property is used as collateral to secure the bond. The bail agent can claim property ownership if the defendant fails to appear in court. Property bail bonds are typically used for high-risk defendants deemed a flight risk by the court. 

Posting a property bond begins with the bail agent conducting a thorough evaluation of the property. The agent will then determine the property’s value and set a bond amount accordingly. Once the bond is set, the defendant or their representative must sign over ownership of the property to the bail agent.

If you are considering posting a property bond, consulting with an experienced bail agent is important to ensure you understand all the risks involved.

Surety bail bonds

A surety bail bond is a type of bail bond that a bail bondsman posts on behalf of the defendant. The purpose of the surety bail bond is to secure the defendant’s release from custody until their court date. 

A surety bail bond is a contract between the bail bondsman and the court. The terms of the contract state that if the defendant fails to appear for their court date, the bail bondsman will be responsible for paying the total amount of the bond.

If the defendant does appear for their court date, the bail bond will be exonerated and returned to the bail bondsman. The surety bail bond system is designed to ensure defendants show up for their court dates and do not abscond justice.

Federal bail bonds

When the federal government arrests a person, they cannot post bail. Instead, they must wait for a hearing before a judge to determine if they will be released on their recognizance or if they will be required to post a federal bail bond.

Federal bail bonds are very similar to regular bail bonds, but there are a few key differences. The most significant difference is that federal bail bonds must be posted by a licensed bail bond agent authorized to do business in the jurisdiction where the arrest occurred.

Another key difference is that federal bail bonds are usually much higher than regular ones. It is because the flight risk is considered much higher for federal defendants. As such, it is essential to make sure that you have the financial resources available to post a federal bail bond before you attempt to do so

Immigration bail bonds

Immigration bail bonds are a type of surety bond typically required to obtain release from detention following an arrest for immigration violations. The purpose of the bond is to ensure that the individual will appear for future hearings and not abscond.

Immigration bail bonds may be posted by the individual detained, a family member, or a professional bail bond company. In most cases, a cash deposit equal to the total amount of the bond is required. The money is returned if the individual appears for all scheduled proceedings. If the individual fails to appear, the money is forfeited and may be used to cover any expenses incurred in locating and returning the individual to custody.

Immigration bail bonds are generally set higher than other types of surety bonds due to the increased risk that the individual will abscond.


The decision of which type of bail to use depends on many factors, including the severity of the crime, the defendant’s criminal history, and whether or not they are a flight risk. If the defendant is considered a flight risk, then surety or property bail may be required. Click here if you’d like to search for inmate.