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Bail Bond Glossary of Terms


Navigating the bail bond process can be confusing, especially if you’re not familiar with the terminology used in the industry. Whether you’re dealing with an arrest for the first time or simply want to be better informed, understanding these key terms can help you make sense of the process and make more informed decisions. Here’s a comprehensive glossary of essential bail bond terms:

1. Bail

Bail is the amount of money set by the court that must be paid for a defendant to be released from jail while awaiting trial. It acts as a financial guarantee that the defendant will appear in court for all scheduled proceedings.

2. Bond

A bond is a written agreement to pay the bail amount set by the court. There are different types of bonds, including surety bonds, cash bonds, and property bonds, which serve as security for the defendant’s release.

3. Bail Bondsman (Bail Agent)

A bail bondsman, or bail agent, is a professional who provides the funds for a defendant’s bail in exchange for a fee, typically a percentage of the total bail amount. The bondsman guarantees the court that the defendant will appear for their scheduled court dates.

4. Surety Bond

A surety bond is a type of bail bond provided by a bail bondsman. It involves three parties: the defendant, the bail bondsman, and the court. The bondsman pays the full bail amount on behalf of the defendant, who pays a non-refundable fee to the bondsman.

5. Cash Bond

A cash bond requires the full bail amount to be paid in cash to the court. This amount is refundable at the end of the case, provided the defendant appears for all court dates.

6. Property Bond

A property bond uses real estate or other valuable property as collateral to secure the defendant’s release. If the defendant fails to appear in court, the court can foreclose on the property to recover the bail amount.

7. Collateral

Collateral is an asset or property pledged by the defendant or a co-signer to secure a bail bond. If the defendant fails to appear in court, the collateral may be forfeited to the bail bondsman.

8. Indemnitor (Co-signer)

An indemnitor, or co-signer, is a person who signs the bail bond agreement and assumes financial responsibility for ensuring that the defendant appears in court. The indemnitor may also need to provide collateral.

9. Premium

The premium is the non-refundable fee paid to the bail bondsman for providing the bail bond. It is typically a percentage of the total bail amount, often around 10%.

10. Forfeiture

Forfeiture occurs when a defendant fails to appear in court as required, resulting in the court demanding payment of the full bail amount. If a surety bond was used, the bail bondsman may seek to recover the amount from the defendant or the co-signer.

11. Exoneration

Exoneration is the release of the bail bond obligation, either because the defendant has appeared for all court dates and the case has concluded, or the bail bond has been canceled for another reason. When exoneration occurs, any collateral is returned, and no further payments are required.

12. Arraignment

An arraignment is the initial court appearance where the defendant is formally charged and asked to enter a plea (guilty, not guilty, or no contest). Bail is often set during the arraignment.

13. Remand

Remand refers to the act of detaining a defendant in custody without bail. This can occur if the judge believes the defendant poses a flight risk or a danger to the community.

14. Bench Warrant

A bench warrant is issued by a judge when a defendant fails to appear in court as required. It authorizes law enforcement to arrest the defendant and bring them back to court.

15. Bail Conditions

Bail conditions are specific requirements set by the court that the defendant must comply with while out on bail. These can include travel restrictions, regular check-ins with a bail bondsman or law enforcement, and abstaining from certain activities.

16. Pretrial Services

Pretrial services are court-administered programs that provide supervision and support to defendants released on bail. These services aim to ensure defendants comply with bail conditions and appear in court.


Understanding these key terms can help you better navigate the bail bond process and make informed decisions if you or a loved one ever find yourselves in need of bail services. If you have any further questions or need assistance, don’t hesitate to reach out to A-Affordable Bail Bonds. We can guide you through the process with expertise and care!

Call A-Affordable today: 877-724-6520
219 S 4th St,
Brainerd, MN 56401